Indicator’s Annual Valentine’s Day Flower Sale Returns

The Indicator’s Valentine’s Day flower sale has returned after a year of remote learning.

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The Indicator—the student-run club behind Stuyvesant’s senior yearbook—is reviving its schoolwide flower sale with a Valentine’s Day sale in spite of the cancellation of its winter sale. While resistance from administration and funding issues presented challenges, the Indicator ultimately received permission to organize the sale. Students will be able to purchase flowers and chocolates for friends and teachers to support the Indicator from February 2 through 10 near the Tribeca Bridge entrance, as well as the cafeteria.

Prior to the pandemic, the Indicator hosted flower sales two to three times a year. Purchased flowers and chocolates are distributed to students during homeroom, and students in the hallways that day are accompanied by flowers and notes from friends. “I remember participating in [the flower sale in] freshman year, and it was fun to see everyone receiving flowers [...] I think overall the flower sale brings positivity to Stuyvesant,” junior Julia Shen said in an e-mail interview.

Due to the pandemic, the Indicator halted its traditional flower sales throughout remote learning. Instead, stickers and other goods were sold virtually and mailed out to students. Though the Indicator initially had plans for a winter flower sale after returning to in-person learning, the event was canceled primarily due to concerns regarding safety and mental health. “[For one,] it was December at the time, when all the [COVID] cases rose up,” senior and Business Co-Editor of the Indicator Junhao Zhen said. “Another concern was from [Assistant Principal of Pupil Personnel Services Casey] Pedrick and [Assistant Principal of Security/Health and PE Brian] Moran, [who told us] that a few students reported to their guidance counselors that they didn’t receive anything during homeroom, which kind of made them feel left out.”

Aside from mental health concerns, the administration also had concerns about the new lack of familiarity with a flower sale. “[Director of Family Management Dina] Ingram said it was like a reset to all of the teachers; they sort of forgot about everything,” senior and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Indicator Thomas Yoo said. “They [claimed] that the Indicator flower sale has never happened before, but we have held it before, that’s the problem.”

The priority of transitioning back into school as well as general miscommunication also led to the winter sale not being held. “We did have a meeting with administration but there was definitely miscommunication on our end, in terms of, you know, a lot of members of administration this year were new,” senior and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Indicator Sarah Cheyney said. “There was also a lot going on in the school such as the winter concert, which [the] administration cited as reasons [as to] why there was a lot going on, and they thought it would be difficult to implement that flower sale.” Principal Yu expressed that specific information about the upcoming sale was still in review in response to an interview request.

To combat this, the editors-in-chief held a meeting with administration to clarify some misunderstandings and provide more information about the Indicator flower sales. “It was definitely miscommunication and we really appreciate how [the] administration adapted once we presented them with the new information,” Cheyney said.

Since the Indicator flower sale has been maintained for several years, the editors-in-chief felt it was important to push for the Valentine’s Day sale. “We also wrote an e-mail to the administration explaining the ins and outs of the flower sales and their mass social and cultural benefits to the Stuyvesant student body, and the richness of the tradition,” Cheyney said.

Zhen echoes this sentiment, agreeing with Cheyney’s emphasis on continuing the event. “[Since we had] two years of no one in the school, if we don’t do [the sale] this Valentine’s Day, this tradition will be lost. I’m one of the only two members left in the department that has actually done the flower sale, [...] so if we don’t do it this year no one would know how to do it next year. We really [want to] keep this tradition alive because it’s fun and it brings people together.”

This tradition not only holds significance to much of the Stuyvesant student body, but to the Indicator community as well. “We have something called dethorning the day before we distribute the flowers out. On that day, [...] we get all of our departments together and we dethorn the flowers. It’s sort of community bonding,” Yoo said.

“It’s one of the few times when all the members of Indicator come together as one club instead of separate departments,” Cheyney added.

In addition to sustaining a tradition of sorts, the Indicator’s adamance on maintaining the flower sales can be attributed to a need for funding. “We’ve sort of been in a drought, meaning that because we haven’t been able to do any of the fundraisers like bake sales because of COVID,” Yoo said. “We were unable to hold a lot of fundraisers and things we had planned.”

Despite reaching out to the Parents’ Association and Alumni Association, the Indicator has not yet received funding from either of these sources. Each flower sale generated a profit averaging from two to three thousand dollars for the Indicator. The loss of the winter flower sale, in addition to other anticipated fundraisers, created financial difficulties for the club and the risk of raising the buying price of individual yearbooks. “We really want to limit the cost of the yearbook because if we don’t have any funding, such as PA funding, the yearbook should come out to about $120 for everyone. Usually we’re able to cut it down to $70-80, and that’s already a lot for a yearbook,” Zhen said.

As the Indicator plans its upcoming Valentine’s Day sale, Yoo and Cheyney share plans to address the administration’s concerns surrounding inclusivity. “We [...] outlined various measures that we will take, such as advertising the flower sales as non-romantic, so friends can feel included in order to combat these issues because we do take the mental health of students really really seriously,” Cheyney said. “I think one point I’d like to point out is that many Stuy events are super expensive, like prom, and that can create some sense of exclusivity. So flower sales, by being so cheap for a student to participate, makes everyone feel included, which is why we feel so strongly [about continuing] them.”

Additionally, to promote inclusivity, the Indicator has reached out to the Big Sibs for a partnership. “We spoke with the Big Sib chairs, who were incredibly kind and understanding, and they agreed to have Big Sibs purchase a flower for every freshman, so no freshman will feel excluded,” Cheyney said.

Though the Indicator was able to successfully convince administration to permit the sale, difficulties have arisen in preparation for the sale. “The first day of the flower sale is on the first day of the new semester, February 2nd [...], so coordinating who’s [going to] be at which stand during their free period becomes very difficult,” Cheyney said. “We’ve been encountering some difficulties with that, but we’re [...] planning on using sharp notice in terms of getting people to sign up.”

Additionally, the Indicator must comply with the DOE’s new policy of requiring at least one adult at the sale at all times. “We contacted Ms. Ingram, and she contacted the PA for volunteers, and I think the sign up sheet for volunteers is out, but I’m not sure how many parents signed up,” Zhen said. “I think we’re also limiting [the period we’re selling flowers], in case there aren’t enough parent volunteers. Usually we do [periods] one to ten, the whole day, in the cafeteria and at the scanners. But this year, if there are not enough people, we might just do one stand at the scanners and [fewer] periods if we have to.”

The Indicator is also struggling with advertising the flower sale due to the lower grades’ lack of exposure to the event. “Advertising for the sale is definitely challenging,” Zhen said. “Usually, our sales target freshmen and sophomores because it’s new and they’re trying to make friends, so usually most of our sales are from freshmen and sophomores. But this year, since they’re not really exposed to the sale, we’re trying to advertise as much as we can.”

With the launch of the sale coming up, the Indicator has begun posting advertisements for the flower sale on Instagram and Facebook, officially introducing the sale to the student body. However, some students have further questions regarding the logistics. “From the information that I got, I only know that [it's] happening from Feb 3 [to] 10, but I would really like to know the prices so I could better plan out how many people I can buy flowers for,” freshman Rachel Alvarez said in an e-mail interview.

Nonetheless, Alvarez looks forward to the flower sale. “I'm super excited to participate [...] [and] show my appreciation for my friends through buying them flowers,” she said.

In spite of the unprecedented challenges surrounding the flower sale this semester, Indicator members and the rest of the student body alike have expressed excitement in anticipation of the upcoming return of the flower sale. “I’m excited for […] writing my friends notes and seeing all my friends carrying the flowers I sent them. It’s just something fun, something that people can enjoy. I look forward to people being happy, holding their flowers,” Yoo said.