Halloween memories are some of the best made by children. From copious amounts of candy to the chance to dress as a favorite character or superhero, children can’t get enough of Halloween. Some of the fondest memories are made while carving a hand picked pumpkin. With the help of Woodlake Community Day School (WCDS) and the Woodlake High School FFA program kindergarten students at F.J. White Learning Center, were provided a day they will never forget.
For the last 14 years students at WCDS have hosted a Harvest Festival for kindergarten students at F.J. White. According to WCDS principal, Tony Casears the event is a favorite for all the students involved, especially the high school students, “It gives them exposure to something bigger than themselves.” Furthermore, Casears stated, “Little kids don’t care about what school you go to or about what you’ve done.”
One student remembers attending the festival as a kindergartener. “It was an amazing experience in my childhood,” shared junior Moses Raya. He went on to say, “It feels good to be out here and I was really excited to help with the kids.”
Last year two group were brought to Ag farm for an hour, but administrators from F.J. White suggested that WCDS bring the students over in one large group and put them through a 90-minute rotation.
Another new addition to the festival came from Woodlake’s FFA program. Two students, Pia Martinez and Ceasar Lara spent their summer propagating miniature pumpkins in order to provide students with small easy to carry pumpkins. According to Agriculture teacher Charlie Abee each student spent over 40 hours harvesting over 3,000 pumpkins. “There was about 10 times more pumpkins than we needed,” laughed Abee. Next year the Ag department will be trying a new variety of pumpkin in hopes of not only providing pumpkins to students but selling them for profit.
“We knew the school did the event every year and it was getting harder for them to get small pumpkins donated,” shared Abee.
Kindergarteners were able to pick their pumpkins, which fit perfectly in their gift bags filled with candy. In addition to the pumpkin patch students were also shown the life cycle of a pumpkin in the field where they were grown.
Tulare County Sheriff’s Department and the Woodlake Fire District were also at the festival sharing with students what their departments do for the community.