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Hartselle Enquirer

Cotton-pickin' fun

By Staff
Danville-Neel fourth graders share in hands-on history lesson
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The importance of the cotton crop to farm families two or three generations ago moved from the classroom to the cotton patch last Friday as Danville-Neel fourth graders were introduced to the task of picking cotton by hand.
At midmorning, the 102 students lined up parallel to Bryan Randolph's cotton field on the south side of the school. With gallon-size, zip-lock plastic bags in hand, they hollered and jumped up and down as they waited impatiently for the signal to start picking. Then, they rushed into the field and began grabbing the white locks and stuffing them into their bags. Twenty minutes later they gathered around their teachers and proudly displayed the results of their hurried labor.
They also talked about their experience.
"It was fun," Macy Lee said. "I wish I had been born sooner so I could pick it all the time."
"It's a fun thing to so. I like the way it feels," Maggie Woodall said.
"Picking cotton is awesome," J.D. Hale said. "This is one of the best days of the year."
Shannon Pugh stated, "it helps us learn more about our past, and my mom told me if I picked enough we'd remove the seed and have a cotton patch of our own next year."
"It's pretty frustrating and hard work but it's fun," added Jonah Shumake.
"We have been studying about the important role cotton played in Alabama history," said fourth grade teacher Jane Knight. "We talked about how it was the sole source of income for many small farm families and how the children would come in from school each day, grab a bite of eat and go to the field and pick cotton until dark. We even brought math into the picture by talking about how pickers would bring their filled pick sacks to the cotton wagon and weight them and about how many pounds of seed cotton it took to make a 500- pound bale of lint cotton."
"We're fortunate to have our school surrounded by Mr. Randolph's cotton fields," she added. "He has been very generous in setting aside a portion of one of his fields and allowing our students to pick from it."

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