PUNKIN CHUNKIN A SMASHING SUCCESS

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November 11, 2015 (Alpine)--The Alpine Education Foundation (AEF) hosted its second annual PunkinChunkin Competition Sunday, November 8 at Joan MacQueen Middle School in Alpine.

San Diego Padres TV broadcast announcer and Alpine’s own Mark Grant emceed the event and provided play-by-play commentary for the competition which featured six teams. Each team had designed and built their own trebuchets or catapults to launch pumpkins.

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob participated in the event’s Opening Ceremonies that included the presentation of volors by members of Cub Scout Pack 105 and Boy Scout Troop 105 as well as the singing of the national anthem by DJ Rod Galloway.  Dianne Jacob got the competition underway by pulling the lever and launching the ceremonial first “chunk”.  

Each team competed in two separate categories, one for distance and one for accuracy. Chris Newcomb, AEF President and Competition Manager stated, “The goal for this event is to put together a family-friendly, educational fundraiser to benefit Alpine schools while also promoting the science and math behind building the launchers and accurately shooting the pumpkins”.

Winners of the $500 A-List Properties Champion Chunker for Distance Award were the Fling Kings representing the JMMS iDream Academy.  They also won the $250 Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians 2nd place award for Accuracy.   Team captain, Ed Sanchez, generously donated the prize money right back to JMMS to benefit the students of the iDream Academy.

Team Pumpkin Party Scouts comprised of parents and girls representing Girl Scout Troop 5272 competed and earned the $500 A-List Properties Champion Chunker for Accuracy Award.  With their supportive cheers, huge smiles and bright orange, gold and black tutus, they won the Postal Annex of Alpine Most Spirited Award of $200. 

The First Lego League/Lego Robotics team at Joan MacQueen Middle School entered a team headed by parent, Chris Loarie.  Their showing earned them the $250 Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians 2nd Place Award for Distance AND the $125 QualCraft Construction 3rd Place Award for Accuracy.  Mr. Loarie directed the winnings of $375 to benefit the JMMS First Lego League.

Creatively named team, the Ornery Mental Gourds, finished the competition with their win of the $125 QualCraft Construction 3rd Place Award for Distance represented by team captain, Katrina Walter. 

Other competing teams included Makerboss comprised of students from Joan MacQueen Middle School’s Makerspace elective that encourages STEAM education, captained by Tyler Bromma-Diplock and coached by JMMS principal, Theresa Meyerott.

Even the Alpine Union School District employees were well-represented by the entry of a team from the District Office named the D.O. Upchuckers headed by Superintendent, Bruce Cochrane. 

$4,300 was raised, made possible by prize sponsorships as well as launch pad sponsorships from local Alpine organizations and businesses: the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, Greek Village Grill, Intellicept, Out-Back Turf of Alpine, San Diego Hot Spring Spas and State Farm Insurance of Alpine.

AND, what would a Punkin Chunkin be without pumpkins?  Thankfully, in a year that has experienced a shortage of pumpkins, Barons Market donated over 120 pumpkins for the smashing! Oma’s Pumpkin Patch donated an additional load for even more launches.

The event also featured DJ music, raffle prizes and an opportunity drawing, commemorative t-shirt sales, a bake sale, “Little Launchers” area where youngsters got to launch from mini-catapults and food & beverage sales at the Alpine Kiwanis Cook Shack.

Support and donations by American Medical Response, JClark Productions, RDWS Ltd and the Alpine Kiwanis helped to keep event costs down.

The Alpine Education Foundation plans to grow this event every year as a family-friendly, educational fundraiser. Punkin Chunkin always takes place on the first full weekend AFTER Halloween. For more information, photos and videos from the event, visit the Alpine Education Foundation website www.aef4kids.net.

About the Alpine Education Foundation (AEF)

The Alpine Education Foundation promotes and supports academic excellence for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in East County, including Alpine and Blossom Valley. Their mission statement is to generate funds that support educational opportunities for students of the Greater Alpine Area to better prepare today’s youth for the future; through programs supporting the use of technology in the classroom, innovative practices, enhancing staff professional development, and supplementing teacher support to allow for small group and individualized approaches to student learning.