DAYTON, NJ - The search for the perfect pumpkin is a fall staple and for a spirited group of Schoenly School students, rain showers and ominous skies did not deter the quest. On October 21, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children from the Spotswood School District's Schoenly School made their annual field trip to Von Thun's Farm. For many youngsters, it was their first time on a school bus. Morning showers and a somewhat soggy forecast threatened to cancel the trip. However, by the time the buses arrived at the Dayton farm, the rain ceased and the search was on.

Armed with raincoats, umbrellas and the occasional pair of wellies, teachers and chaperones were prepared for the worst. Mother Nature cooperated in the end and Von Thun's was bustling with other schools as Schoenly's kindergarteners arrived for their visit. The pre-kindergarten students had left an hour earlier for theirs.

The five and six year olds learned about Von Thun's resident goats, chickens, bees as well as their horse Razor and some lively pigs. A hayride included stops along the farm's corn field, apple orchard and natural spring before the tractor arrived at the patch to drop the students off to find their ideal sugar pumpkin. Since the dark skies never really brightened, the teachers opted to return to school for lunch instead of the planned picnic at the farm.

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"This is a really long day," kindergartener Aidan Collins thoughtfully remarked, emphasizing the word really as he waited to board the tractor for the hayride back to the buses. His classmates agreed with that assessment as a tired, but happy group climbed on the school buses for the trek back to school. The noise level on the buses were markedly quieter as more than one kindergartener drifted off for a quick nap.

The group was greeted at the school's main entrance by Schoenly principal, Nancy Torchiano, as they made their way down the hallway to their classrooms; each one proudly clutching the prized pumpkin. Lunch would be the perfect ending for their special day.