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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

Fall Fest 2022
Rachel Mavity

It was a beautiful fall day with sunlight filtering through varying shades of orange and red leaves as the annual Fall Fest returned to St. Andrew’s.

Hosted by the Environmental Stewards, the East Asian Affinity Group, and the Asian Student Union, the festival packed everything Saints love about fall into one glorious day.

Following the Blessing of the Animals chapel service on the Front Lawn, students were treated to Korean rice cakes, a traditional dish of Chuseok, the Korean autumn festival. 

The rice cakes, called songpyeon, are half-moon shaped cakes steamed over pine needles. 

Masai Matale ’23 and her mother, chef and educator Sung Uni Lee P’23 (@13moonsfood on Instagram) provided both the inspiration and the cooking expertise. Earlier this year, Environmental Stewards faculty advisor, Bertie Miller ’14, was speaking with Lee about plans for the Fall Festival and traditional foraging practices. Miller was interested in learning how to introduce foraging as a community practice at St. Andrew’s, but the pair ended up talking about Chuseok traditions instead.

Miller reached out to the East Asian Affinity Group and the Asian Student Union to see if there was any interest in adding in a celebration of Chuseok to the traditional lineup of Fall Festival activites.

“The students were excited and really jumped right in,” Miller says. “They really had to get a lot of people involved to make it happen.”

First, students partnered with the Organic Gardening team to collect longleaf pine needles from around campus. The needles were then cleaned and placed on cookie sheets. Next, students partnered with SAGE Dining Services to utilize the industrial steamers in the kitchen, and selected a  recipe and ingredients to make the cakes. Still others helped forage for persimmons and chestnuts growing on campus. The persimmons and chestnuts were used both for the cakes’ delicately sweet filling and to give the dough color. 

Once the rice dough was mixed and colored, the filling was placed in the center, and students folded the cakes into a half-moon shape. The cakes were then placed on top of the pine needles and steamed.

SAGE chefs helped the students by creating additional Korean dishes, including hobakjuk, a squash pumpkin porridge with red beans and pine nuts, and persimmon, ginger, cinnamon sweet tea.

Here are some recipes if you want to try to make these Korean dishes at home:

After enjoying the Chuseok treats, students were ready for some Fall Festival competitions, pumpkin carving, and apple cider-making. 

Here are some of the Fall Festival events and their respective winners:

Wheelbarrow race: Stella Roffers ’24 and Katherine Simonds ’24

Pumpkin toss: Sam White ’26, Thomas White ’26, Oliver Mize ’26, Yasir Felton ’24, Nick Osbourne ’23, Meade Evans ’23, Toby Nix ’24

Pie-eating contest: Silas Grasse ’23 and Ike Lawrence ’23 (with honorable mention to Lila Lunsford ’26)

Truck Pull: Zach Atalay, Myles Derabertis, Jayson Rivera, Nick Osbourne, Kyle Share, and Ema Appenteng, all Class of 2023. (Shout-out to the employees who competed!)

Pumpkin-carving contest: Jules Klecan ’25 for best overall jack-o-latern.

Throughout the day, Environmental Stewards encouraged students to sign an Earth Justice petition of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting the revocation of more than 600 exceptions granted by the EPA to companies permitting the continued use of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.”

With more than 40 students participating in the Environmental Stewards this year, leaders Lia Miller ’23 and Helen Heuer ’23 have organized the group into smaller committees with specific responsibilities and goals for the year.

Some upcoming Environmental Stewards activities on campus include foraging in the woods, educating students on sustainability and environmental issues, removing invasive species both on St. Andrew’s campus and in nearby Blackbird Forest, and developing a campus composting program.

Learn more about sustainability at St. Andrew’s.

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