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Home > Clerc Center > House One Hosts Pumpkin Fest for First and Second Graders

House One Hosts Pumpkin Fest for First and Second Graders

Image: First Lady Vicki Hurwitz gives a welcoming hug

First Lady Vicki Hurwitz gives a welcoming hug

Image: Decorating pumpkins

Decorating pumpkins

Image: In spring 2011, students planted sweet potato ivy to grow over a wire tunnel. It made a fun place to play, too.

In spring 2011, students planted sweet potato ivy to grow over a wire tunnel. It made a fun place to play, too.

Image: Returning in October 2011, the now vine-covered tunnel made an even more tempting place to play!

Returning in October 2011, the now vine-covered tunnel made an even more tempting place to play!

Image: Our vegetables really grew!

Our vegetables really grew!

Image: The First Lady waves goodbye to her visitors.

The First Lady waves goodbye to her visitors.

The Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) first and second graders have won a special place in the heart of Gallaudet's First Lady Vicki Hurwitz. For two years, the first and second grade classes have worked with Mrs. Hurwitz in the spring to plant a vegetable garden at the Gallaudet University President's residence known as House One, and returned for a pumpkin harvest celebration in October. This year's pumpkin fest was held on October 11.

Mrs. Hurwitz, dressed in the spirit of the day, wore a bouncing pumpkin headband, Halloween jewelry, and bright orange Halloween-decorated socks. She welcomed the students at the door of House One and led them through the house to a brick courtyard in the back, where she and Gallaudet University volunteer Celine Daze had set up a pumpkin decorating work station with craft supplies of markers and stickers and glue. Each student was given a pumpkin to decorate.

The now-second graders returning to the courtyard saw a dramatic change in the growth of the plants. Last spring, they helped plant sweet potato ivy plants to grow around a tunnel made out of chicken wire. When they arrived for the pumpkin fest, they saw that the tunnel was completely covered over with vines and looking like a bright green caterpillar. Both the first and second graders took turns crawling from one end of the plant tunnel to the other. They also explored the surrounding garden bed and found some of the mature cucumbers and squashes from the young plants the KDES students planted last spring.

Mrs. Hurwitz brought out a tray of Halloween cookies and marshmallow peeps and juice for a much-appreciated snack, followed by a visit to the fish pond at the front of the President's House. The First Lady explained that the new wire netting across the pond was to protect the fish from birds swooping down to eat them. The students then played on the wide expanse of the House One lawn--tumbling, games of tag, and running, running, running. Before the students returned to school, they collected their pumpkins, received a goody bag from Mrs. Hurwitz, and waved goodbye to their gardening friend.