Thousands of the students stood in the cold of fall outside Southmoreland High School during intervention, anxiously awaiting the results of the school’s first annual Pumpkin Drop, made possible by the ALPHA program budget, despite suffering substantial budget cuts this past summer.
Junior Joselyn Busato has been participating in the annual pumpkin drop for the Southmoreland High School’s ALPHA program since her freshman year, at both West Virginia University. Recent budget cuts forced the event to be held at Southmoreland.
Busato said how different the two events were from a participant’s perspective.
“One thing that stood out was how nervous I felt,” said Busato. “The event at WVU just feels like a fun time for laughing at the structures that fail; there are hundreds of people laughing alongside you and we’re all there to just have a good time; but this time, I felt like we had something to prove to our peers.”
Busato thoroughly enjoys the pumpkin drop competition every year, and she enjoyed this year just the same, despite the change in scenery. She said she had a lot of fun and felt that there was “a larger chance of actually winning the drop,” due to the smaller number of participants this year and the shorter drop height, being reduced from 11 stories at WVU to 3 stories at SHS.
Busato said she is greatly looking forward to next year and participating again.
“It’s definitely a challenge to think outside the box when creating the apparatuses,” said Busato. “It’s nice to see so many people excited about it; however, there were obviously a lot less people participating and things moved much faster. It’s nice to see such a laid back atmosphere. The lower drop height made us feel like we had a better chance, too.”
Mrs. Bethany Eutsey, and alpha adviser and science teacher, ran the event with the assistance of Mrs. Marie Heberling, another alpha sponsor and math teacher. She sees the drop as a success, and greatly looks forward to running one next year with minor changes and more participants.
“I think the pumpkin drop went well, the kids had a lot of fun,” said Mrs. Heberling. “However, I would like to see the designs earlier next year, and I am sure that we will have more participation next year with how well this year went.”
There were seven teams that participated this year. The winning team consisted of Ashlynn Brannagan and Alayna Ice for most on target, while the title for most creative design went to Michael Klatt, Makayla Harvey, Joselyn Busato, and Mikayla Miller.
This event, in addition to Quiz Bowl, are a few of the events that the ALPHA program is able to continue participating in after the budget cuts took effect. However, Mrs. Eutsey and Mrs. Heberling are using their creativity to keep the program thriving.
“We were cut to only $500 dollars this year,” said Mrs. Eutsey. “The $250 fee was spent on registration for Quiz Bowl. We still have $250 to spend. It substantially limited the activities that we are able to do. Mrs. Heberling and I are being creative and finding more events for our ALPHA program to participate in, despite our small budget.”