HUACHUCA CITY — Nine-year-old Colin Newman and his Huachuca City School peers are planting a pumpkin patch.

With assistance from local business owner Jim Goad and members of the Huachuca City Community Garden, a handful of students planted pumpkin seeds in a spot on the northeast end of the school campus. The ground had been cleared and prepared by Goad ahead of the planting, complete with an irrigation system.

“We’re planting these seeds so we can grow our own pumpkins for Halloween,” Newman explained. “We can pick them when they’re big, put a candle in them and we’ll all have a magical pumpkin.”

Holly Weichelt, who is president of the Huachuca City Community Garden, was one of several adults on the school campus Monday to help with the planting.

“This is so exciting,” she said. “Jim Goad has been awesome about helping us out with this. He’s all about teaching kids how to do things. We’re really excited about the pumpkin patch and all the hands-on educational opportunities the kids are going to have as they take care of the plants and watch them grow.”

As someone who grew up in Huachuca City and attended school in the Tombstone District from kindergarten through high school, Ashley Harden was at the site with her son Jaydon Mason to help plant seeds and start the irrigation system.

Harden praised the pumpkin patch project as an “outdoor classroom” for Huachuca City’s kids. “We didn’t have anything like this when I was going to school here,” she said. “It’s a wonderful learning tool for the students.”

Jacob Weichelt, 14, said he’s looking forward to watching the plants grow from seedlings to full-sized pumpkins.

“I think it’s cool that we’re learning how to garden,” he said. “We’re starting with bare ground where the pumpkin patch is being planted, digging holes, putting the seeds in the holes and covering them up. Our goal is to have pumpkins in time for Halloween.”

Charles Caney, also 14, said that pumpkins are a great start, but would like to see the project evolve into producing other plants.

“I think it’s great that we’ve got the pumpkin seeds planted because when school starts in the fall, this gives us something to take care of and watch until Halloween. But I would like to try to grow other vegetables out here.”

Huachuca City School Principal Kevin Beaman, who also was at the plant site, applauded the community garden contributors and students for helping with the project.

“I’m surprised by the number of people that came out here for this,” he said. “I’m all about the students having more hands-on activities and being more engaged as part of their learning experience. Projects like this help multiple areas of learning and give the students a final product they can take home with them.”

Beaman also extended a note of gratitude to Goad, someone he praised as being very supportive of Huachuca City and the school, whenever the community turns to him for help.

“I really appreciate Jim Goad’s involvement with our community and school,” Beaman said. “He is always so generous about donating his time and resources. We would not be able to do these kinds of projects without him. We’re fortunate to have someone like him contributing to our kids’ education.”

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