Dickson brings the pumpkin patch to the students

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com
Older Dickson students teach younger students about the show animals they are raising during Wednesday's Pumpkin Extravaganza at the school. Because the younger students were unable to go to a pumpkin patch, the school brought the patch to them, complete with a petting zoo and homemade ice cream.
At Dickson's Pumpkin Extravaganza on Wednesday older students teach the younger ones about the show animals they are raising.

Dickson’s youngest students were treated to a field trip in their own backyard on Wednesday. Since they were unable to travel to a pumpkin patch due to COVID-19, the pumpkin patch came to them. In what organizers dubbed the Pumpkin Extravaganza, pre-k, kindergarten, first and second graders were able to select a pumpkin, learn about carving, learn about animals, visit a petting zoo, and get a cup of ice cream.

The pumpkins were purchased at cost from Pick of the Day, and they supplied enough pumpkins for every student to be able to take one home. The ice cream was courtesy of the Murray County Antique Tractor Club who made the ice cream on the spot using an antique tractor to power the ice cream machine’s motor. They also brought along a few other examples of their tractors for the kids to look at.

Additional snacks such as muffins, cupcakes and popcorn and the animals from the petting zoo were from a bit closer to home.

Zack Gadberry, agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor, said his students brought their show animals for the kids to enjoy and then stayed throughout the day to teach the kids a bit about them.

“We got approached by some of the teachers to help put this on since the kids aren’t able to go to a pumpkin patch this year,” Gadberry said. “So I presented it to my students and they were fired up about helping out.”

The FFA students brought out horses, cows, goats and pigs to show the younger children, and the kids also received a coloring book about animals as they passed through.

“Each of my students are stationed with an animal,” Gadberry said. “So as the kids come by to see them, my students are also giving them a little lesson about what kind of animal it is, what we use them for in agriculture, and any questions they have.”

Gadberry also brought along his daughter’s pet guinea pig, who proved to be incredibly popular.

“Sometimes some of the kids get a little bit scared by the bigger animals, so I just bring them to the side with the guinea pig and it calms them down,” he said.

Christi Whiten, family and consumer sciences instructor, said her students baked muffins and cupcakes for the event and were also on hand to give away popcorn.

“It’s been a great learning experience and a great way to serve others,” Whiten said. “They were so excited and they’re having a blast. I haven’t heard any complaints which doesn’t happen very often!”