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An Apple a Day

While parents and schools around the country are challenged to find ways for teens to eat healthier, Highland High School students have adopted the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Through the generosity of Wilklow Orchards, located across the street from the school, this Fall every Highland High School student who wished to was able to stop by after school and get one free apple every day the farm stand is open.

According to Becky Wilklow-Marnell, sixth generation owner-operator of the orchard, and Highland High School Principal William Zimmer, an average of 50 students take advantage of the opportunity every day after school. Most are students participating in sports and clubs who have a few minutes available to visit between the end of the school day and when their after-school program starts. “We do have a few, though, who hustle over and back in time to catch their bus home,” Principal Zimmer explains. Wilklow-Marnell concurs, “We get a big rush right after dismissal.”

In operation since 1855, Wilklow offers a wide choice of apple varieties which sometimes results in students begging the question, “What’s a good apple?” According to Wilklow-Marnell, orchard staff then give a full rundown of each variety which often ends up overwhelming them. Upon return to the school campus, Principal Zimmer who’s outside supervising dismissal asks the simpler question, “Red or green?” He notes that “Most pick red.”

The Wilklow apple-a-day tradition has been in place since the early 1990s and is well-known among Highland High School students. The school makes no formal announcement, yet students across all Grades 9-12 participate. “The kids just all know,” says. Mr. Zimmer. “It’s really terrific,” he adds.


Four young ladies from Highland High School are all smiles as they select apples.

Three young men from Highland High School select apples.

 A male student selects an apple from a bin at the farm stand.