Killingly fourth-grader wins scholarship for 31-pound cabbage

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Mar. 27, 2012
Commissioner Steven Reviczky and Superintendent Dr. William Silver with winner Christopher Lackner. Photos by D. Coffey.
Commissioner Steven Reviczky and Superintendent Dr. William Silver with winner Christopher Lackner. Photos by D. Coffey.

Killingly Central School fourth-grader Christopher Lackner was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for his green thumb on March 23. The 9-year-old was able to take a small cabbage plant provided by the Bonnie Plant Company and turn it into a 31-pound behemoth.

Bonnie Plant is a national plant wholesaler that sponsors a cabbage program for third-grade students across the U.S. It's an attempt to bring lessons alive for young students. Teachers can use the plants to teach students about science, math, English and agriculture. Lesson plans provided by the company include metric measurements, plotting data and using that data to make growth predictions, keeping a cabbage growth journal, and learning about how far and fast food travels from the farm to the table.

“Bonnie Plants has given 11 million cabbage plants away to third-graders,” said Bonnie Plant representative J.R. as he presented Lackner with a certificate. The O. S. Cross variety cabbage plant is known for producing huge cabbage heads. Some have grown up to 50 pounds.

Lackner and his fellow third-grade classmates each received a cabbage plant in March 2011. They took the plants home for the summer where they planted and cared for them. When Lackner harvested his cabbage, it weighed 31 pounds. His name, school information and a photograph and the dimensions of the cabbage were submitted late last summer. Lackner's name went into a lottery with other Connecticut students. He was selected winner by Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Stephen Reviczky.
“Agriculture is hugely important in northeastern Connecticut. A lot of us owe a lot to local farmers,” Reviczky said. He told the students about growing beans in third grade. “I've been involved in farming and agriculture ever since,” he said.

Superintendent Dr. William Silver was also at the presentation. “I think third grade is the perfect age to start caring for something other than themselves,” he said. “To get a plant and have to nurture that plant - whether they win or not – it's a great experience.”

At the end of the event, a new round of third-grade students were given their cabbage plants. “Now you have a record to beat,” J.R. said. “If you need any advice, just ask the fourth-graders.”

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