students learn about a combine from an FFA student

Release written by senior internship student Natalie Baron

On Friday, October 1, the FFA sponsored this year’s Fall Fest. With help from Mrs. Zayac’s independent living and child development classes, FFA students hosted an array of activities for elementary school students. 

These activities included pumpkin painting, viewing of combines and gravity wagons, a wooden cider press presentation, and having donuts/apple slices and cider. Supplies were donated by Panek’s Pumpkin Patch. 

“FFA Fall Fest is a good way to connect with the elementary school kids. A lot of time and effort went into the event. It was all run and organized by FFA officers and members,” stated FFA advisor Scott Oldenburg.

Pumpkin painting was a big hit among the elementary schoolers. Students at one of the tables excitedly reported about the painting and about Fall Fest. “I like painting in Fall Fest ’cause I can be creative,” came one reply. “I like the cider and the donuts!” stated another. “I like the comfort of…wind and leaves,” came the third. “The Fall Fest is so good because we get to do stuff that we do in fall!” the last student said. Pumpkins dried over the weekend and were brought over to the elementary school on Monday for students to take home.

The combine and gravity wagon presentation showed the elementary schoolers what these trucks are and what they do. At one presentation, high school student Bryce Wilson asked the students questions about a harvester. He explained that it was made by Ace and it harvests corn and wheat. The students got to see field corn that the combine would eventually take in and soy beans that had gone through the machine. The students got to learn fun facts such as it weighs 50,000 pounds and costs $150,000 brand new. Wilson went on with a tractor, explaining that it holds grain, soy beans, and corn, and that it stands at six feet tall.

At a food station, students were asked if they would like donuts or apple slices, water or cider. 100% of students said they wanted donuts and cider. Laughter ensued and the students had quite the treat. “[The kids] always have fun when they come. They always love it, look forward to it–especially the donuts; they’re always like, ‘Will there be donuts?’–‘I don’t know!’” teacher Mrs. Kozerski said.

Elsewhere, FFA students asked the elementary schoolers questions about pumpkins and apples, such as uses, colors, types, and weight. The students enthusiastically answered and learned lots about the foods.

Another station held the one gallon apple barrel crusher, or the apple cider churn. Ivan Barry described to the fascinated students that apples are cut in half and then pressed in the churn so that the juices go out.

Fall Fest was a massive success for another year. FFA president Samantha Basinait described Fall Fest as follows: “It’s a way to get the kids out and teach them how certain things are made…they get to taste cider and see how cider is made, and how food they harvest goes to the plate eventually. It teaches them about the agricultural industry.”

FFA vice president Natalie Bertsch added, “I think Fall Fest is very important for the elementary schoolers because it teaches them the importance of agriculture and our community.”