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An amazing day for special kids
Stella Brockman Schools Alexander Burton-Chavez (center) who is blind, is led by classmate Angel Garcia aide aide Jenni Parker while taking in the sounds of the Special Day on the Farm. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The corn maze and others attractions at Dell’Osso Family Farm were once again big hits for the various day school and special needs programs from throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
It was all part of “Special Day on the Farm” hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Stockton.
An estimated 2,322 made it to the admission-free event that helps kick off the 21st annual Dell’Osso Family Farm Pumpkin Maze that’s open to the public starting today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last entry, attractions will start shutting down at 9 o’clock). The maze and  other activities are open daily through Oct. 31.
Special Education teacher Matt Tate was amazed that students in his day program at Sierra High for the moderate and severe made their way through the corn maze in near record time.
“We were in and out in about 20 minutes,” he said, pointing out that his students benefitted from the Pumpkin Maze map.
Tate recalled once getting nearly lost in the corn maze, taking some 45 minutes before finally finding the exit.
He and his students helped earn their way to Dell’Osso Farm thanks to the Recycling Club work program.
Together, they collect plastic and glass bottles along with aluminum cans for field trips like this and items needed for cooking projects
“If we weren’t here we would be doing a cooking project,” said Tate, who uses the activity to teach students how to follow directions and exercise their motor skills.
Speaking of cooking, volunteers spent their time preparing a hotdog lunch with all of the extras made possible by donations.
Elaine Thompson of the Kiwanis Club of Stockton once again spearheaded those efforts. For the past 24 years, she’s one of the major cogs behind this event that benefits children and adults with special needs.
“It’s a fun time for them,” Thompson said. “They have the place all to themselves to enjoy and have a good time.”
By the way, she received cookie dough as one of her donated items. That’s where Sue and Mark Rueger of Mokelumne Hills’ Renegade Winery came to rescue.
“We spent 17 1/2 hours (from Tuesday to early Wednesday morning), baking 2,400 cookies,” Sue Rueger said.
Many of the elementary school day programs from the Manteca Unified School District were also in attendance.
They spent a bulk of their time flying down the super slide; playing Barn Yard baseball, football and basketball; pedaling along the Dell’Osso Raceway; climbing and jumping along the tire pyramid; and riding on the hay ride and the Dell’Osso Express Train, to name a few.
However, the corn maze was still the main attraction.
“We zipped right through it,” said Ray Martinez from the Stella Brockman group.
The group from Joshua Cowell had second thoughts.
“We did it last year and got lost,” instructor Renee Coronado said.
Still, she was happy to see her students have fun playing on the other attractions.
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