The maze was laid out using the Global Positioning System
September 16, 2003
Irwin County, GA-- School administrators often worry about having enough classrooms for their students. But one southwest Georgia teacher found a novel way to create a classroom that has big educational value, for almost nothing.
It seems quite odd how a person like four-year old Brice Sanders, surrounded by corn, had never touched the end of an ear until he went to a five-acre classroom.
“Feels like hair,” says Brice as he touches the silk sticking out from the ear of corn.
Feels odd to try to explain since tens of thousands of acres of corn grow nearby. “I think it looks like cornbread, but it’s just corn,” says Brice.
Something that he eats but didn’t know much more about, like many young people. The pre-kindergartener and 17 of his classmates often feel puzzled about where their food comes from, and that disturbs agriculture teacher Wesley Paulk.
“A lot of kids have never seen a corn field,” says Paulk, much less touched the roots of a corn plant. “It feels like a metal fence,” says Brice as he touches a corn plant’s roots.
Wesley Paulk felt a corn maze would help young people know more about their world, but found he was about to get an education he wasn’t expecting. A company said it would cut it out for five thousand dollars, money he didn’t have. So he decided to do it himself with a little help from his friends.
They had heard about corn mazes for adults, but decided to make one for little people. Sounds easy to do. “We were shooting in the dark,” says Paulk. Or more like mowing in the dark, blindly following a global position system receiver that told them where to cut the young corn plants in late July to create the maze. “It only took two hours to physically cut it out,” says Paulk.
They were still in the dark after they finished cutting it, not knowing what they had created until a pilot snapped a picture of it, three thousand feet above. “We were relieved from that standpoint,” says Paulk when he saw the outline of a tractor with the letters ICHS, for Irwin County High School, in the field.
Relieved to know young people like Brice Sanders would find the corn maze so interesting that he wants to come back. “When we come back another day I’m going to peel another corn,” says the four-year older as he left the maze.
Another day of learning about the world that surrounds him. “Yeah, we made it,” said his teacher as all the students came out. Amazing. The Irwin County teacher welcomes any school group from anywhere in Georgia to come see the corn maze.
He didn’t leave adults out, with plans to open it during Ocilla’s upcoming Sweet Potato Festival. Call the Irwin County Superintendent’s office at: 229-468-7485 for scheduling