source: http://www.cheshireherald.com/node/10169

Michaela Petit Flower Clears First Hurdle

May 21, 2015 by Special To The ...

A proposal to establish Michaela Petit’s Four O’Clock as the Connecticut children’s state flower passed the House unanimously Wednesday, nearly eight years after the 11-year-old Cheshire resident lost her life in a tragic home invasion.

The legislation, introduced in January and supported by members of the Cheshire Hartford Delegation, including State Representative Al Adinolfi (R-103) who pushed hard for the initiative, will head to the Senate for approval.

“Unfortunately, a heinous crime rocked our tight-knit community, sending lasting ripple effects across the country. But we will not let evil win and we will not allow the bad guys have their place in our state history. We want to honor an innocent girl who had a bright future – and we want to honor her through a type of flower she loved,” Adinolfi said.

The Four O’Clock, or Mirabilis jalapa, was chosen because of its role in the Cheshire home invasion: like the phoenix rising from the ashes, the flower Michaela used to plant with her father poked its petals out of the burned-down, scorched house remains after the tragedy. The Petit Family Foundation sells the seeds to fund a scholarship for girls.

Michaela’s father, Dr. William Petit, submitted written testimony in February thanking Adinolfi and his colleagues for taking up a cause for Michaela.

“Naming a State Children’s Flower tells kids that they can have a voice and empowers them to go forward and help others,” Dr. Petit said. “In addition, it is an easy flower to grow from seed and requires little maintenance so that even the youngest child can participate. It teaches children about the outdoors, gardening and beauty in a very simple way: Horticulture, agronomy, ecology and the environment all are related to STEM fields. We need more children with an interest in these areas, especially young girls.”