Pender High School pupils produce popcorn


BURGAW, NC (WWAY) –A tasty new project has popped up at Pender High School. It’s all in an effort to expose students to healthy and locally grown foods.

“Kinda a surprise how cool it was. I didn’t know it was like this just to make popcorn. It’s really cool,” said Pender High School student Kevin Guzman.

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There’s a buttery and slightly corny new project at Pender High School: Pender Pop.

Students are growing and processing 700 pounds of popcorn on campus.

After the harvest in September, agricultural students cleaned the kernels with a special machine Friday.

“First, they shovel it into the machine. It sorta shakes the popcorn and then blows all the dust and stuff off of it. Then the popcorn, the right pieces, just fall into the barrel over there,” said Guzman.

And it’s not just the agricultural students that have all the fun. Art students got involved as well.

The logo for Pender Pop, which was designed by a Pender High School art student (Photo: Justin McKee/WWAY)

“At first, they thought we were kidding, and then we had our art class, had a competition for a logo, to design the logo for Pender Pop. So once we got that going, and then today, I think it became a little bit more real when they saw the kernels here and were putting it through the machine in the background and so they’re excited,” said Pender High School principal Chris Madden.

A local farmer (Don Rawls), a NC State Extension agent (Tim Mathews), and the Pender Alliance For Teen Health helped make this possible.

“We are a rural school and we do rely heavily on community involvement and so to have Mr. Rawls here, to have Tim from NC State here, to have Sandy Rowe from PATH, all working together with our students and then bringing them in and giving them the hands-on experience in different subject areas, content areas, all working together. It goes directly aligned with what we’re trying to do as a school,” said Madden.

Madden says the school’s business class will start working on a local distribution plan for Pender Pop.