Newspapers in Education Winners

“We started this program before some of you were born…” was the way Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director opened the recent assembly of third and fourth graders at Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford. “The Newspapers in Education Program has been around for ten years now.” Boomsma went on to introduce Valley Grange members who were present for the assembly. “These are some of the people who make this program possible.”

The Piscataquis Observer based in Dover Foxcroft began publishing the special supplement every spring, featuring news about and by area students. Local businesses enlist local students to create ads for them. Most ads are done by middle and high school students, but the Grange saw an opportunity to include some younger artists. After collaboration with Mrs. Daniels, the art teacher at P.C.E.S, Valley Grange continues to sponsor two ads every year: one drawn by a third grader and another by a fourth grader. All students in both grades participate and Mrs. Daniels now includes the program as part of her art curriculum. “This is a great opportunity for the kids to experience the commercial aspect of art and see how they might explore a career in art,” she says.

Because the Grange actively supports the local elementary school with additional programs like Dictionary Day/Words for Thirds, Bookworming, and GrowME agricultural activities, the students can decide what to emphasize in the ads they draw. “It’s always personally rewarding to see the emphasis on reading and bookworming,” Boomsma notes. “These kids seem to understand what Valley Grange values and what it takes to make those things happen. The ads feature a ‘call to action’ that often encourages people to volunteer or become a member.” Boomsma also believes “some of these kids are destined to become Grangers.”

While the ads themselves are still under wraps until the supplement is published on April 11, 2018, this year’s winner list includes third graders Braylin Beckwith, first place; Chris Merrill, second place, and Aiden Graves, third place. Fourth Grade winners include Jaiyde True, first place; Lizzi Gilbert, second place; and Caleb McKusick, third place. Every student who participates receives a “mini” certificate in the form of a magnet.

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Aiden Graves, Braylin Beckwith, Chris Merrill, Lizzi Gilbert, Jaiyde True, Caleb McKusick. The monkey on Lizzi’s head is explained by the fact it was “Crazy Hair Day” when students and staff have the option of doing something crazy with their hair!

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