Around this time of the year, pumpkins become a favorite target for those with carving knives. At Clarkson Elementary School, though, students and teachers sought to transform the big orange fruits in a different way.
Library media specialist Kim Keys decided to organize a pumpkin decorating contest for students and teachers, tying in with the school’s fall festival. The catch: the pumpkins had to represent a favorite character from children’s literature.
Students could use any materials they wanted to decorate their pumpkins, including paint and pipe cleaners, but could not carve them. Keys said that was in part because the carved fruits would rot and attract bugs, and in part because they didn’t want kids handling knives or other carving tools.
Entries were divided into five categories: Kindergarten/First grade, Second/Third grade, Fourth/Fifth grade, Teachers and Family Project. The family category was for families who wanted to submit one pumpkin for all their children, or several pumpkins representing characters in the same book.
The winners in each category received gift certificates, ranging from $25 to $5, for the library’s March book fair.
The winning pumpkins were submitted for a second round of judging Friday night, a “People’s Choice” award at the school’s fall festival. That winner also received a $25 book fair gift certificate. That winner’s name was not available due to the newspaper’s print deadlines.
The winners, by category, included:
Kindergarten/First grade: Michenna Meredith, “Bad Case of Stripes,” first place; Adasyn Cain, “Bathtime for Biscuit,” second place; Kinley Cook, “Elmer the Patchwork Elephant,” third place.
Second/Third grade: Matthew Brown, “Ralph S. Mouse,” first place; Samantha Landis, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” second place; Wyatt Clemons, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” third place.
Fourth/Fifth grade: Kerrigan Cain, “Harry Potter,” first place; Kennadi Walters, “The Rainbow Fish,” second place; Natalie Haycraft, “Eloise,” third place.
Family project: Dakota Adams, “SpongeBob SquarePants,” first place; Caitlin Decker, “Junie B. Jones,” second place; Keegan Paris, “The Lost Treasure of Skull Island,” third place.
Teachers: Jessica Cain, “I Knew an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” first place.