A Wapakoneta Elementary School second grader doesn’t hesitate a second when asked what her favorite part of school is — recess.
Typically 7-year-old Jaden Gerstner said she plays games of chase.
Lunch comes in a close second.
“Mmmmm,” Jaden says as she thinks about the school cafeteria’s pizza.
It doesn’t matter what kind, because they are both good, she said.
Living just outside of Wapakoneta, the daughter of Dawn and Chris Gerstner has “goats, cats, rabbits, kittens and a dog,” she said, “and enough room to play.” Jaden’s favorite thing to do outside is race her dog, LJ, to the barn.
“He is my favorite,” Jaden said. “He sits even when I don’t have a treat in my hand.
“I remember getting him, I was so happy,” she said. “My sister and I wanted him so bad.”
The star student of the week in her class, Jaden said a lot of thought went into what she would put in her clear plastic bag she had to bring back to school.
“I filled it with all kinds of stuff,” Jaden said, asking to show her favorite item. “It’s a zebra with a long neck.
“It’s like a giraffe, but a zebra,” she said of the stuffed animal.
But as much as she adores that zebra, Jaden can’t forget about her
Twinkletoe boots or thelittle toy hamster she got for Christmas, both of which she also loves.
At home she stays busy taking care of the family’s 11 goats.
“I’ll have to ask my dad to count them,” said Jaden, who recently got her own new white goat, Cindy. “She’s a girl that we will breed, then she will have babies and then be a milker.”
She also helps milk the goats and gives them special food to help them produce milk.
“Milking them makes my hands hurt,” Jaden said. “Last night the goat moved on me.”
Jaden, who has one younger brother and six sisters, said she likes having so many females in the family.
“We don’t drive my dad crazy, but he does get grumpy sometimes,” Jaden said, sympathetically adding that, “He stays up all night and works.”
She said her father not only works his regular job, but helps at two different workshops.
“I helped my dad one day,” Jaden said. “It was fun, but I didn’t have to stay up all night and I only worked about 10 minutes.”
Her favorite thing to do is to ride her bike down to her father’s friend’s house and then turn around and go home.
She also likes to get the mail when she gets off the school bus and playing on the swingset, although her father had to take a piece off theirs at home because Jaden was “playing on it not like it is meant to be played on” and had climbed to the top and sat on it.
She also likes playing secret agent and helping her sister do things when she is scared.
Jaden said she is excited about a cake her mother and sister are planning to make with her.
Her favorite food is watermelon because it is “juicy and yummy” and she proudly declares that she is a Christian.
“I listen to Christian songs,” Jaden said, explaining she likes church because of the music, the classes, the talks about God, and the snacks. “I fell asleep in the sanctuary on my dad before.”
Jaden plays soccer and likes the games and snacks there, too.
When her younger sister turns 4, Jaden is looking forward to sharing a room with her and getting a locker to keep her sister out of her stuff. Her older sisters use the lockers now to keep Jaden out.
As for her future dreams, Jaden want to be a nurse.
“I like helping people,” Jaden said, noting sometimes she also helps her dog.