‘Drop it, drop it’ chants echo through downtown Fairmont for annual Pumpkin drop contest


FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont Catholic School continued its annual educational tradition of a pumpkin drop on Thursday.  

“I survived the 2021 FCS pumpkin drop” T-shirts

Seventh and eighth grade students worked in their science classes to build devices to protect a pumpkin from a 100-foot drop.  

On Thursday morning, those devices were put to the test. Fairmont Fire Fighters raised their truck ladder and let middle school science teacher, Shelby King, drop the pumpkins encased in the students’ designs.  

This year, it was a requirement for all materials inside the boxes to have only biodegradable materials. Some students used parachutes, toilet paper and hay to try and keep the pumpkin in one piece.  

In the end, three pumpkins survived the fall. Judges deliberated and choose one team as a winner. The winning team had a smaller parachute and a shorter box than the other two successful designs.  

Lilah Arcure and Matthew Mullen, winners of the pumpkin drop, with science teacher Shelby King and Fairmont Fire Fighters

King hoped the kids learned a few lessons from the project.  

“One, we want to build community,” King said. “So, we need to be able to work as a team when we leave middle school and high school and go into the real world, and this is a great way to start that. We also need to think about science, right. What devices can we add to our product to create the safest environment for our pumpkin as well as something that will withstand the drop of 100 feet?” 

Judges giving a thumbs up for a successfully protected pumpkin after 100-foot drop

The entire school of nearly 140 students came out to watch the pumpkins drop. All of the grade school students chanted “drop it, drop it” in the early morning hours for each pumpkin.

“Whether we go to church together, whether we do activities together it is really like a family atmosphere here,” Maika Merriman Fairmont Catholic School PTO President said. “So, we want them to experience the fun, the learning everything that comes with it so that they can also start thinking about what worked what didn’t work and we are a community as a school.” 

Merriman explained that the school often supports their community and community members with their activities and that it’s important for them to instill that at an early age in young kids.  She especially thanked the staff, teachers, parents and the Fairmont Fire Fighters for helping with the event.

Typically, the parents and community members are invited out to watch the event. However, due to Covid restrictions, only a few parents and community members came out. Merriman Facebook livestreamed the event for others to watch at home.  

Fairmont Catholic Grade School has put on the pumpkin drop event for nearly nine years. 

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