The learning never ends. Students at St. Francis Academy discovered that there is more than one way to make milkshakes at the school's annual Dairy Day celebration held on June 3 in the school's auditorium.The art of making milk-shakes was featured in the day's primary event - a contest between teachers and selected students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Each team was challenged to make three milkshakes using three methods which organizers dubbed professional, redneck and environmentally friendly. The professional way used a milkshake machine on loan from Longacres' Dairy in Barto. The redneck version followed the credo of bigger is better and more power. The environmentally friendly method used the renewable energy of muscle power as the teams literally shook the ice cream and milk into inseparable union.

As the teams raced, the milk and ice cream splattered and the noise in the room reached a deafening crescendo. But for contestant Caleb Harrison, the splattering was the best. The first grader explained: "My favorite part was when the milk splashed."

To make all the milkshakes, the teams used 16 gallons of whole milk, 33 gallons of Turkey Hill vanilla ice cream, more than two quarts of vanilla syrup and more than eight quarts of chocolate syrup.

When time ran out for the amalgamations, the cream settled and event emcee, Rev. Thomas J. Welsh, retired bishop of the Allentown Diocese, declared a winner by default. He explained that while the judges favored the chocolate milkshakes made by the teachers' team by three to two, the victory was null and void because principal Thomas Murphy continued to operate the drill, his instrument of mass mixing, after time expired. This entered first-grade contestant Ana Belen Guerin's highlight reel. "I liked it when the students won." However, second-grade contestant Maggie D'Innocenzo agreed with the judges' verdict: "The chocolate milkshake was awesome, the best."

Newly crowned Berks County Dairy Princess, Gail Switzer, told the students about the important role milk and dairy products play in their diets. She walked across the stage saying: "Count off, one, two, three, four" like an army drill sergeant. Switzer listed the milk components in order of importance and explained how each item helps the students be their best. "Be sure to add yogurt, milk and cheese to your diet," she said.

Berks County Little Miss Dairy, Elissa Kunkel, had the students sing-a-long with her to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it." She substituted phrases such as "if you want to pet a cow," "if you want to milk a cow" and "if you want to feed a cow."

Judges included: Robin Melcher and Danelle Matlack of National Penn Bank, Beth Bakes of Bally Auto Care, Newt Longacre of Longacres' Dairy, Denise Sobjak of Sobjak's Market, Berks County Dairy Princess Gail Switzer and Little Dairy Miss Elissa Kunkel.

Participating students included: kindergarten, Colynn Wharton and Sean Anderson; grade 1, Ana Belen Guerin and Caleb Harrison; grade 2, Maggie D'Innocenzo and Troy Viola; grade 3, Angelica Harrison and A. J. Castaldi; grade 4, Victoria Rocus and Anthony Dalickas; grade 5, Michaila Kunz and Dillon Hause; grade 6, Emma Howald and Nicholas Burke; grade 7, Dylan Schrump and Justice Greco; grade 8, Emily Erb and Richard Heid.

The teachers' team included: Mary Fran Sheetz, Thomas Murphy, Denise Stull, Joan Kelsch, Teresa Carver, Celie Bussell, Patti Chandler, Sharon Boyer, Kathy Little, Kim Schroeder, John Coble, Christine Dannunzio, Zoe Derkotch, Jennifer Furniss, and Kathleen DiPietro.

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