BurbankNBeyond Feature Story
By John Savageau
Nestled in a in an improvised field of straw and hay bales, guarded by several scarecrows and diligent parents, hundreds of pumpkins awaited adoption by eager students on Friday morning at William McKinley Elementary School.
In its 12th year, McKinley’s PTA Pumpkin Patch provides students and parent volunteers a break from the routine, giving children a taste of Halloween and American culture.
“Many of our students have never had a chance to see a real pumpkin patch” remarked event organizer Stephane McCorkle. At the Pumpkin Patch, all McKinley students had a chance to rummage through the straw, picking out their favorite fruit. “Everybody gets a pumpkin” confirmed McCorkle, ensuring a great time for all the kids.
As Mr. Danielson’s 4th year class approached, the ‘Patch was transformed into a sea of colors, laughter, giggling, teasing, and a scene of teachers and volunteers connecting with students. Some explaining to critical children a bit of the history of pumpkins, taking patience describing the abstract of a farm to city kids, others helping youngsters pick out the perfect pumpkin for their prize.
Shannon Douglas, a volunteer at the ‘Patch and mother of a McKinley student praised the efforts of the McKinley PTA and teachers. “This is the greatest school we have been to” said Douglas, “This is the hardest working PTA I’ve ever seen, and I am very impressed with the level of participation and positive attitudes of everybody in the school system.”
Volunteers started building the Pumpkin patch at 6 in the morning, all excited to bring this slice of happiness to McKinley students – although it was a bit difficult to determine who was having the best time, as parents and volunteers shared and traded laughter equally with the students.
As all the children showed off their trophies, teachers ensured no student, even those who were absent, lacked a pumpkin. Then, as each student signed a large “Thank You” card for the PTA, volunteers prepared the ‘Patch for the next class of children cheerfully anticipating their time on the McKinley farm.