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TOWNSEND — Under the guidance of English teacher Jan Pothier, seventh-graders at Hawthorne Brook Middle School competed for top honors in the Great Pumpkins in Literature contest.

Using the book “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry, the students had to create a scene that included a pumpkin.

The book centers around 11-year-old Jonas, who lives in a futuristic society with no pain, fear, war, hatred or prejudice. The society has eliminated choice, but when a person reaches 12 years of age, they are assigned a job. Jonas was given the honor of receiver of memory.

The students were asked to create a literary character sketch of any character in the book. The task included a scene that truly reflected the character, setting, mood and theme conveyed in the writing. Students could work alone or in groups of up to four.

The only requirement for the use of a pumpkin was that it not be cut into.

Top honors this year went to Rick Charest for his utopian scene based on the part in the book where Jonas remembers snow.

His scene included a fairy pumpkin, little trees covered with snow, a few Christmas decorations and a doll from his sister’s doll house.

“The book was pretty good, and the project was fun to work on,” said Charest. “My dad is going to be real happy when he finds out I won.”

Pothier’s English classes have been doing this project for seven years, and she said every year “the projects get better and better.”

The projects are judged by staff and students.

Other winners include Colby Keefe, Miranda Smith, Jarret Ross and Rebecca Chene for best character; and Taylor Thompson, Matt Brown, Tanner Pandiscio, Tyler Rousseau, Paul Walter, Tanisha Baron and Katryna Kusmirek for best scene.

“They all did such a great job on their projects, it’s wonderful to see them all,” said Pothier. “Its a fun project, and everyone gets involved with the voting, and you never know what you’ll see when the students bring them in.”

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