Michigan Apple Queen Court Attend School Events
Katie Rasch, 1st Runner-up
During my first few months on court, I have had the opportunity to visit three elementary schools to read, pass out stickers, bookmarks and apples, and talk to students about Michigan apples and my experiences living on a farm.
My first school visit was in March to a Young Five’s class at Mary A. White Elementary, which is part of the Grand Haven Public Schools district. One of my professors had a son in this class, and contacted me while the class was having their “eating healthy” section. I was a little nervous since I wasn’t sure what questions five year olds would come up with! They were very interested in learning about the different jobs that I do on the farm, and what being an apple court member meant.
My next visit was to Duncan Lakes Early Childhood Center. I visited two classes at this school, the early childhood and a 3rd grade class. My cousin Pierson was in the early childhood class, so my Aunt Diane made applesauce muffins for everyone, and they were a huge hit! I read books to both of the classes and answered questions, but I think there were quite a few more questions from the 3rd graders. I think that the younger kids were stuck in awe of my crown, which was really funny! When talking to the 3rd grade class, I learned a lot about their experiences on apple orchards. Many of the students had visited at least one farm and I loved hearing all of the great experiences and memories they still had from that.
I visited R.R. Oehrli Elementary School in Montague on May 19th during their end of the year picnic. They were celebrating Michigan products during the entire week, and had Michigan apples as their focus on the 19th. I spent most of my time passing out bookmarks and stickers to the students, and the delicious Michigan apple recipes to the parents. It was awesome to see the students excited about eating apples, since both healthy eating and supporting the local economy are very important right now. I was extremely proud when Dan Gorman, the Food Service Director, informed me that they serve only Michigan apples. He also told me that they plan to set a new record for the number of people eating apples at once by having the students all eat a Michigan apple at the same time!
So far my experience educating and talking to students about Michigan apples has been great. Not only have I taught them many new things about the industry, I have also learned a lot about their experiences. I am looking forward to doing many more class visits in the next year!
Amanda Geldersma, 2nd Runner-up
I was invited by Susie McNeil, head of food services, and Victoria Simon, Principal of Threshold Academy in Orleans to educate their students about locally grown apples as part of “Michigan Week.” My presentation coincided with a week long lunch menu that featured only locally grown foods including Michigan Gala, Empire, and Jonathon apples.
Before the assembly began I stood outside the doors and was warned by Mrs. McNeil about “disruptive learners” and the significantly high number of students with ADHD enrolled in the academy. I will have to admit, after witnessing the indistinguishable excitement of kindergarten through sixth grade students filing into the gymnasium I temporarily reconsidered my career choice – Elementary Education.
Fortunately, I had nothing to fear. Unbeknownst to me, my beloved crown came equipped with super powers that quieted every student and focused their undivided attention on me. Talk about feeling royal! With plenty of Michigan apple goodies in tow and fun activities planned, the assembly went on without a hitch. The students were great!
After reading Out and About at the Apple Orchard, and a round of Michigan Apple 20 Questions, the students very enthusiastically entertained me with a few questions of their own. My personal favorite was when a charming young man stood up and asked to be the “apple king.”
It was no surprise when asked what their favorite apple varieties were the students answered in colors (green, red, yellow) thankfully they understood after sampling two varieties of red apples (Gala & Empire) that even apples of the same color have very different tastes and textures. I had to laugh when I noticed the students pocketing the seeds from their apple samples and later planting them alongside the school building… Johnny Appleseed has some competition. I truly enjoyed traveling back into an elementary school and sharing the adventures and excitement of learning with my new friends from Threshold Academy!