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Harvest Festival scares up community spirit
Photos and Story by James Hill
Heather Lindsay Carpenter will be in your face at the Harvest Festival at the Rock Creek Campus. She is in charge of face-painting the children, who take delight in her ability to paint whatever they like on their cheeks.
"I’ve always been just an artist," she said. "This is my third year as a face painter. Even the kids remember me. It’s so cool. I can draw anything and they’ll love it. They just get so excited."
This year, the Festival will once again be held just in time for Halloween. It will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 on the Rock Creek campus, located at 17705 N.W. Springville Road. The suggested donation is $3 per family, which includes, as long as the supply lasts, a free pumpkin from the Rock Creek Campus pumpkin patch. In addition, visitors gain free admission to the Washington County Museum.
Along with the popular pumpkin patch, the festival will include hayrides, a petting zoo featuring the animals of the PCC Rock Creek farm, and musical entertainment, and the public will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with their pumpkin. Plus, there is Carpenter’s service as a face painter.
"The people that come to the Harvest Festival are mostly families," she said. "It’s a time for the community to come out and enjoy a great event and see what college is all about."
Carpenter, 30, graduated from PCC last year, but decided to continue volunteering at the annual Harvest Festival even though she has moved on to a four-year school. She is studying communications at Portland State University and someday would like to return to PCC to serve as an advisor. Carpenter took advantage of PCC’s dual enrollment agreement with PSU and is on a fast track to completing her bachelor’s degree, at a fraction of the cost compared if she had started at the university as a freshman.
"It’s amazing for me because I’m the first in my family to go to college," Carpenter said. "I took a career development class and basically took a bunch of aptitude tests, which got me interested in an education."
While at PCC, she sustained a 3.72 GPA and made the President’s List, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was involved with student government as the evening coordinator at Rock Creek Campus. She started college later in life, but hasn’t regretted it one bit.
"After high school, I became known as simply an employee," she said. "I went to work right after high school with the lure of financial freedom and independence. I decided to try PCC to make myself more valuable to my employer. The smaller class size and intimate campus layout provided me with a sense of security and gave me the chance to really interact with my professors. I believe the community college has provided me with a foundation, a jumping off place for the rest of my educational journey.
"I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I hadn’t found PCC," she added. "Now, I want to go on and get a graduate degree. Taking classes at PCC changed my life."
Eventually, she would like to work with first-generation students at PCC or another community college.
"It’s definitely a culture that is far different than a four-year university," Carpenter said. "I’m thankful for starting my education here. People really take care of you at PCC."
For more information on the Harvest Festival, please call 503-614-7379.