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Team from Greater Beckley Christian School wins 30th Annual WVU Pumpkin Drop

Judges watch as a pumpking parachutes from the roof of the Engineering Sciences Building.
West Virginia University alumnus Doug Velegol throws out the first pumpkin.

Photo of Check Presentation to Ronald McDonald House Charities with Dr. Scott Wayne, Ronald McDonald and Eleanor Reigel. Photo of unfortunate pumpkins that did not survive their plummet from the Engineering Sicences Building.


While nearly 400 pumpkins flew off the roof of West Virginia University’s Engineering Sciences Building one—from team No. 102A from the Greater Beckley Christian School in Prosperity —not only survived the 11-story drop but landed closest to the target.

The winning pumpkin landed two-feet, four-inches from the target, earning them the $100 Pumpkin Drop first prize.

Second place was claimed by team No. 271 from Yough Senior High School in Herminie, Pennsylvania. Their pumpkin landed two-foot, nine-inches from the target, earning them the $50 runner-up check.

Team No. 348 from East Fairmont Middle School finished third, with their pumpkin landing three-foot, two-inches from the target. The team was awarded $25.

The competition, which aims to teach engineering concepts by designing an enclosure to protect the pumpkin from damage when dropped from the roof of the building, was judged by Wally Venable, associate professor emeritus. Venable has judged the competition each of the past 30 years.

The students are not the only ones to reap the benefits of the annual event, which is sponsored by WVU’s student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Since its inaugural year, the organization has donated event proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown.

“The funds raised from ASME’s Pumpkin Drop event play a large role in supporting our organization’s mission to provide families with a “home-away-from-home” while their children are receiving medical treatment in the Morgantown area,” said Eleanor Reigel, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown. “With support from fundraising events such as the Pumpkin Drop, we are able to serve thousands of families every year through our core programs including the House, the Family Room located within WVU Medicine Children’s, and the newly launched Hospitality Cart.”

Since 2011, the chapter has donated more than $37,000 to the organization.

Members of Tau Beta Pi, WVU’s chapter of the national engineering honors society, collect and donate recyclable materials used for the pumpkin’s protective casing to local charitable organizations. Students and staff in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources outreach program also ran a STEM Zone for students who were attending the event.

“The Pumpkin Drop is arguably the largest outreach event at WVU,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Each year, it brings more than 1,000 students and teachers to campus for a fun day of STEM-based activities. It is a huge undertaking for all corners of the College. My sincere thanks goes out to the student organizations, faculty and staff that make it so successful each year.”



For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:


Phone contacts:

College Relations office: 304-293-4086

Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157

Other College administrative and department offices: Administration