by Claire Allison
Woodbury School pupils are digging deep to raise funds for a bike track on the school grounds.
Pupils have become involved in a fittingly rural fundraiser – growing and selling potatoes.
The small country school, with just over 100 pupils, has used a piece of barren school land to raise a crop of Highlander potatoes.
School support group chairwoman Jane Robb said the profits would be used to help fund the creation of a bike track on the same land.
“This track has been on the cards for a long time and now it will become a reality thanks to the hard work of our school community and the children themselves.”
The track would be used by the pupils and also be available for community use outside school hours, including weekends, Mrs Robb said.
The area would be lined with fruit trees and also provide spaces for relaxation and sporting activities.
Principal Mike de Joux said the children had been involved in the project every step of the way.
“From observing the ground being prepared, to helping plant the seed potatoes and the young fruit trees, they now keep an eager eye on progress in the paddock. For the kids to see that they can turn their hard work into a tangible result – the bike track – will be a very powerful lesson in what can be achieved if you put your mind to it.”
The children would be involved in harvesting and bagging the potatoes, as well as in creating a logo to promote the potatoes for sale, providing an end-to-end experience and deep understanding of the process, he said.
Sales would also be chiefly in the hands of the children as they would handle order forms to sell to friends and neighbours as well as managing an honesty box outside the school and a stall at the local farmers market before Christmas.
The school also planned to share its bounty with others by giving potatoes to Waihi Lodge and the Christmas dinner run by Cyril and Val Guthrie.
“We want the kids to understand that when you are part of a community, you share the good things, and we think this is a perfect way to communicate our school values to them in a practical way at a very special time of the year.”
New-season potatoes are likely to be available from the second week of December in 1.5kg and 2.5kg bags and can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Main-crop potatoes will be available from March in 4kg and 10kg bags.