Welcome Great Pumpkin: Students at Westpark Elementary School have a patch of their own

Here’s a little Halloween trivia for you: Did you know that pumpkins are the fruit of the pumpkin plant, which grow from flowers after being pollinated by ants and other insects?

Some students at Westpark Elementary School knew that much and more, as they’ve been growing pumpkins in Mrs. Anthony’s science lab for about two months.

“Students are learning that pumpkins take a long time to grow large enough for our Halloween treats,” says science specialist Vicki Anthony, “and they’re watching the small lime-sized pumpkins grow a little more each day.”

Turns out, the young plants require both patience and a lot of water. Anthony said her students have been busy hydrating their large patch during lunch and recess – and even during the year-round school’s fall break. No word yet if Linus van Pelt will drop by come Halloween night.

IUSD’s science specialist program is made possible by the Irvine Company, which in 2006 generously pledged $20 million over 10 years to bolster art, music and science in grades four through six. 

At Westpark, we’re told the kids have been pretty pleased with their own green thumbs – or perhaps orange thumbs? – and Mrs. Anthony says they’re excited to see how large the pumpkins will grow.

Most important, she says, the students have learned a great deal about the life cycle of plants, as well as what they need to survive. And it seems the whole school has become invested in their new crop of would-be jack-o’-lanterns.

Said one Westpark student, “Everybody enjoys coming to school to see how big our pumpkins are each day.”