WIESBADEN, Germany - An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a glass of apple juice can do wonders toward building lasting friendships and understanding cultures.
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Students and faculty of Aukamm Elementary experienced the process of making apple juice Oct. 5 with Breckenheim orchard owner Dietrich KrAfAPger as a part of the school's host nation cultural awareness program. For their labor they were rewarded with a glass of freshly pressed apple juice.
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"I do this to give people more understanding for the apple tree," said KrAfAPger, who is a member of the Strenobstverein Wiesbaden, e.V. which is an organization established to heighten consciousness about fruit orchards.
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KrAfAPger, who has a history of involvement in the Wiesbaden military community, became linked to Aukamm Elementary as a result of the school's host nation teacher's personal awareness of an age-old process.
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"In former times the farmers did this. ... It's nice to give them a hand with these things. ... and to give the kids a fun opportunity to learn," said Ute Bopp, Aukamm Elementary School.
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Bopp said she was seeking someone who could make this type of demonstration so the children could see this process. "I had been looking for several years and this summer someone told me about Herr KrAfAPger."
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Though KrAfAPger usually makes this presentation at German kindergartens and for handicapped individuals, for a second year he shared the opportunity with American youths. Last year he helped Hainerberg Elementary School pupils make apple juice.
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The students were all eager, and some were a little more curious than others.

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"I read a book about it," said kindergartner Hunter Scmick. "I'm looking forward to making it."
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The students took their turns with each of the five tasks associated with pressing the apples. First they gathered armfuls of apples from the bags picked the day before by KrAfAPger and the Wright family - Jerry, Adele and Ethan (Hogan). Next they washed them and transferred them to the shredder. As the pan catching the shredded apples filled, they were then transferred to the press.
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Sighs of "Ughs" and "yuck" were expressed as the apple shreds were transferred to the press.
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The juice flowed after students cranked the press to tighten the cheesecloth-like material holding the apple mulch.
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The juice was collected in containers and the job of taste testing commenced.
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The sighs of "ughs" and "yuck" quickly became "ahs" and "yums" after the juice was served.
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The young apple juice aficionados were a bit thrown off by some parts of the process but remained excited still.
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A,A "It looks like a pie that got eaten," said Samantha Douthitt, first-grader, commenting about pressed apple scraps that were being removed from the press.
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They all enjoyed the fruits of their labor, some more than others.
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"I had three cups," said second-grader Scarlett Brollig, who said her favorite part of making apple juice was drinking it.
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And while the activity was fun, it accomplished all learning objectives envisioned by the faculty.
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"This was a great way to tie the learning to things common in the host nation's culture. The students will remember the apple making for a long time," said Aukamm Principal Sue Gurley, who added that all nine classes participated and 170 students made apple juice and had a glass of juice with their lunches.
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"And there were no stomach aches," she added.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16