SPRINGFIELD TWP. First, Second and Third graders at Springfield’s Young Elementary School showed up to school the morning of Oct. 25 with their “designer” pumpkins in hand to compete in the school’s seventh annual pumpkin decorating contest.
These pumpkins weren’t triangle eyes and a mouth with staggered teeth carved into the orange fruit. These pumpkins were designed by students with imaginations and a little help from Google (and their parents).
Principal Jennifer Ganzer said the turnout was so much larger this year than previous years. It was the largest amount of pumpkins she has seen for the contest.
“It is a fun thing for all of us,” she said, adding that she was astounded at the creativity of the students.
The pumpkins are numbered as they come into the school. The third-graders then vote on their favorites to determine the winners.
“It is a rite of passage, as a third grader you get to vote for the pumpkin contest,” said Ganzer. “So many families participated this year.
Taking first place this year was second-grader Makenzie Kisner with her “It” pumpkin, which was made by she and her mom.
“My mom was searching on Google to see what pumpkin to do and came up with the idea of the 'It' pumpkin and we added a sewer and added a rat to it," Makenzie said.
In second place was first-grader Jaxon Parsons with his version of a “dino egg” (dinosaur hatching). He said he checked online on his mom’s phone for ideas and designed his dino egg himself.
First grader Ryleigh Tingler tied with third grader Peyton Carmel for third place. Tingler had her version of “It" and Carmel had a fishbowl pumpkin with a live fish.
Ryleigh said she looked up the clown picture and her mom, dad and herself worked on the pumpkin. She said it was fun.
"We did a pumpkin with mice in it two years ago," Peyton added. "We were gonna do a haunted house pumpkin but my mom and me kept messing up. My mom came up with a brilliant idea to put a fish inside of it. We went to the pet store and they had glow fish but the fish we picked looked like Halloween, so we got that one instead. My mom got the fish tank and decorations and we set it up the next day after school."
Superintendent Chuck Sincere visited the school to check out the creativity of the students. He said it was incredible and the kids get so excited.
“When I look at all of this, it shows people are caring and want to do stuff," he said. "They put a lot of time in it.”
Family Video and Marco’s Pizza donated gift certificates for the prizes as well as the parent group provided candy, stickers and other items for the winners’ baskets. The volunteers, Regina Southall, president; Karla Hess, treasurer; and Miranda Terry, volunteer, organized the contest and tabulated the votes. The parent group volunteers do a variety of programs and fundraisers throughout the year.
The Young Parent Group has been in existence for 60-plus years and does a food drive in November for Springfield Cares, an indoor carnival in the spring; book fairs; Santa Shop; and more.
The group is always looking for parent volunteers and the next meeting is at 6 p.m., Nov. 11 at the school. It meets the second Monday of each month.