CLARK, NJ - People around the nation celebrated Johnny Appleseed Day on Friday Sept. 26. Johnny Appleseed, whose real name was John Chapman, is still studied and lauded for his contributions to American history and agriculture. He traveled the nation planting apple seeds everywhere that he went.

At Valley Road School, Johnny Appleseed Day was also a special event. Students in Kathryn Freeman’s first grade class studied Chapman, made handmade books about his life, and read stories about the whimsical life of the mysterious Johnny Appleseed. On Tuesday, Sept. 30, parents were invited to the school to bake apple pie with the class to celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day.

The day began like any other as Freeman took attendance, and lunch count. Then the celebration began. Thirteen parent volunteers came to the school to help in the class. Kenneth Knops, superintendent of Clark Schools, Janeen Allemendinger, K-5 curriculum supervisor,and Joseph Beltramba, principal of Valley Road School, were distinguished guests as well.

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Students began the activity by flattening a Pillsbury Grands biscuit on a piece of wax paper. They placed slices of apples on top. Parents walked around the room helping children put butter, cinnamon, and sugar inside their pies. Then, children took a second biscuit and stretched it on top of their pie and crimped the edges. Parents then helped the children cut designs into the top of the pies, and sprinkle cinnamon and butter on the completed pies.

Freeman’s volunteers placed finished pies on parchment paper, and then the pies were wheeled off to the cafeteria to bake. While the pies cooked, children had the opportunity to work on Johnny Appleseed coloring pages, which became thank you cards for each of the parent volunteers. 

Later in the day, children had the opportunity to taste the baked pies. One student, Brayden Lukas exclaimed, “I used to hate apple pie! Now it’s my favorite!”

The day was a success and Freeman stated, “I’m so lucky to have such supportive class parents, and such a supportive administration! Everyone contributed to the event, even those who weren’t able to be physically present sent in supplies.” Smiling she added, “I can’t wait for the next time I’m able to invite parents in to see our class!”