An ‘egg-citing’ day in Carmichaels

April 29, 2013
Carmichaels Area School District maintenance supervisor Lou May, left,and assistant Dave Demniak stand atop the Carmichaels Elementary School for the annual sixth-grade egg drop. May laughs as they watch an egg inside a rocket with a makeshift parachute begin its descent to the ground. - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

CARMICHAELS – Like the annual shaving cream battles at Margaret Bell Miller Middle School, the egg drop at Carmichaels Elementary Center indicates a right-of-passage. For at least 15 years, Carmichaels Area School District sixth-grade students have been given an assignment: Find a way to keep an egg dropped from the top of their school from cracking.

“It is a good feeling getting to do this. The kids enjoy it and we enjoy it,” said district maintenance supervisor Lou May. He and his assistant for the 2013 drop, Dave Demniak, had the task of dropping the eggs from the roof last week. The experience was extra special for Demniak whose son, Hayden, was among the participating students. His egg, placed in the center of a piece of Styrofoam pool noodle with several cross pieces of the noodles, survived the fall.

As egg after egg made the nearly 40-foot descent from the top of the building, no one knew which would survive. Stuffed animals, a foam archery turkey, a loaf of bread and a pillowcase were among the protectants selected by the students. Many of the egg contraptions had makeshift parachutes attached to slow the fall.

“This is a great activity,” said elementary principal Rob Cole. “Education is more than the PSSA test.”

Cole and the three sixth-grade teachers said the egg drop is one of several events the students would participate in prior to their graduation to the junior high school May 30.

“It (the egg drop) is something they look forward to all year,” said sixth-grade teacher Becky Mitchell. “Their big brothers and sisters have done it and they wanted to know when we were doing it.”

Many of the students cheered each other on and groaned when an egg hit too loudly, a sure sign it was cracked. The egg inside a plastic jar of peanut butter seemed a goner when the jar hit and broke open. The peanut butter splattered across the pavement but the egg was safe and sound.

Mitchell and fellow sixth-grade teachers Margaret Stoff and Fred Morecraft stood with clipboards recording the eggs that made it and those that did not. The competition heated up as each tallied the numbers for their classroom. In the end, Morecraft’s class won with a 78 percent egg survival rate. Stoffa’s class came in second at 67 percent with Mitchell’s class was close behind with 64 percent for third.

“It was a pretty good day, really,” said May, who will retire June 30 after 27 years with the district. And it was hard to tell watching him send each egg down from the top of the building who was having more fun, May or the students below.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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