A taste of home

GREENWOOD — A tasty pie-making tradition three decades in the making as an annual class fundraiser tested the culinary skills of Greenwood Mennonite School sophomores this past week.

Orders for 845 homemade apple pies — double crust and crumb — homemade the old-fashioned way from Donna Yoder’s family recipe were made over a two-day-and-a-night stretch spanning Thursday and Friday.
The 13 sophomores in Greenwood Mennonite’s Class of 2022 along with parents, other family members and staff tackled the huge pie-making project.

This tradition started in 1989 by Ms. Yoder when her son, Keith, was a sophomore at the school on Mennonite School Road.
“My son — he was class president — came home from school one day and said, ‘Mom, we need a fundraiser. Do you have any ideas?’” said Ms. Yoder. “My family had just done these pies. My mom developed this pie to put in the freezer.”

“We did the math and figured up how to do it in large quantities,” said Ms. Yoder. “So that’s how it got started – 30 years ago. My son is now 44. I have always been involved, the last couple years a little bit more so there is consistency in the pie. Some classes started changing things around a little bit, and it kind of hurts your sales if they are not the same all the time.”

Jose Magaña, Spanish instructor at Greenwood Mennonite School and homeroom teacher for the sophomore class, served as project coordinator.

“The sophomore class that does this every year,” said Mr. Magaña. “It started in 1989 by Ms. Donna. Her son was in high school here and she just thought that this would be a good idea.”

Teacher Joseph Magana holds up one of the delicious apple pies.

The school cafeteria was the preparation venue for peeling, slicing and cooking hundreds of apples, making the dough, packing freshly-made pie shells with thick filling and topping them with either a full crust or a crumb crust.

Proceeds support several sophomore class projects, which include a class trip, banquet sponsorship and class gift to the school.
Ms. Yoder coached students and rookies in Apple Pie-Making 101, including handmade full crust, crumble topping, filling and even the final crust-pinching touch — crimping. She reminded students on the assembly line to fill each pie shell to the fullest.

For some students, this was their first stab at pie-making.
“No …,” chuckled sophomore Cole Welfrey, when asked if he was an experienced pie-maker as he learned the piecrust crimping technique.
Traditionally, apples for this annual project come from orchards at T.S. Smith & Sons, located in nearby Bridgeville.
“We get the apples from them,” Mr. Magaña said. “We got a big bin of apples. The ones that we used year is Golden Delicious … and they are delicious.”

Initially, the plan was to make 700 pies, but an influx of pre-orders before the Oct. 18 deadline upped the number to 845.
In addition to tender loving care, recipe staples include brown and white sugar “and other things Ms. Donna puts in there,” said Mr. Magaña.
“And Ms. Donna is really good with the math, so she says like ‘We have this many pies, so we need this, this, this and that.’”
Pies, which are not baked, are stored in a refrigerated trailer parked alongside the school for customer pickup. Some students offered to personally deliver pies in their orders, Mr. Magaña said.
Finished pies were placed in plastic baggies tagged with baking instructions. Pies can be baked immediately or frozen and baked when needed.
At $10 a pie, the fundraiser minus expenses nets a sizeable funding foundation for the class.

“All the profit, the revenue, is for this class,” said Mr. Magaña. “It’s for the senior trip for the sophomore class. Also, our junior class makes a banquet for senior class each year, so that money that the junior class pays for that banquet comes from that fund.
“This is the biggest fundraiser the classes do.”

Money left over in the fund goes toward the class gift, Mr. Magaña said.
Opening day of this year’s pie-making wrapped up Thursday evening around 10:30 p.m. or a little before.

With no school Friday due to professional development day, students and family began arriving around 8:30 a.m. to finish the project.

Last year, some students elected to stay overnight at the school after the first day. But not this year.
“It’s better that they come refreshed and are ready to roll,” said Mr. Magaña.

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