Students learn valuable skills at annual Pumpkin Drop

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dozens of pumpkins were falling from the sky at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston on Thursday.

More than 1,000 West Virginia students from 44 schools in 15 counties took part in the 21st Capital City Pumpkin Drop hosted by BridgeValley Community and Technical College. The drop is a competition of pumpkins dropping in designed packages by the students.

“We did put hay in ours to make it lighter,” Qamar Alyasin, a 6th grader at John Adams Middle School told MetroNews. “It’s also recyclable material which gives us extra points. It can hold up the pumpkin well, we already tested the pumpkin out and it’s very sustainable.”

The students’ design boxes for the competition with weight limits and other restrictions about what they can put inside. The pumpkin inside the box is then dropped from the top of a ladder on an AEP truck. Pumpkins with no marks, bumps or breaks advance to the next round.

“We learn mostly STEM,” Isabel Trusty, a 6th grader at John Adams Middle School told MetroNews. “Particularly the engineering part of STEM because you learn how to build things, build designs to keep things safe.”

John Adams Middle School, which sits in Charleston, had a design that featured two layers of hay and a blanket.

Awards were given out to students who created the best pumpkin shelter, as well as those who design creatively and sustainably for elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

“You learn how to take something that is a normal thing and turn it into something that can win and be helpful,” Alyasin said.

“This also teaches you that if you lose, you can try again and come back.”