Valley Grange sponsors newspapers in education ad contest

Our local paper, The Piscataquis Observer, does an annual ‘Newspapers in Education’ supplement in which local school students design advertisements for local businesses. In the past, most of the ads are designed by ‘older kids.’ Since we at Valley Grange in Guilford are always looking for connections and synergies within our community and schools, we decided to try an experiment.

We agreed we’d participate in the program but decided to give the opportunity to second and third graders at Guilford Primary School because it’s one of the schools where we give dictionaries. We also do a ‘Bookworm’ program there with volunteers visiting the schools twice a week to listen to the kids read one-on-one. We thought it would be fun to see what the kids might come up with as a way of promoting our organization. The results were astounding.

Julie Orton, the Principal of Guilford Primary was immediately a huge supporter and the Art Teacher, Mrs. Daniels, grabbed the project with gusto. We ended up with nearly 90 advertisements to choose from! In the interest of fairness, we asked several local ‘advertising experts’ to serve as judges, a task that proved extremely difficult. Third grader Alyssa Pearl-Ross…notice the ‘thanks’ in the flowers… drew one of the ‘winning ads.’ Due to the incredible response and several unsolicited donations, the Grange was able to select a second grade winner as well. Second grader second grader Ethan Worster… notice the ‘Books for you’ in the truck… certainly caught the association between the Grange and reading!

And this all took place before our ‘Maine Agriculture Day’ activity on March 19th which included Grange Members visiting every class (kindergarten through third grade) to read some ‘facts about farming’ and have some fun with the kids. The second graders got to make and taste their own butter with ‘Farmer Boomsma,’ so maybe next year’s ads will include a cow and milk truck!

The Grange truly appreciates the opportunities the Words for Thirds program has provided to be a part of our schools and share with the children in our community. We are now involved with three school districts and provide close to 200 dictionaries annually and have many new found little friends within our ‘home’ district. It’s great to show up at the school and hear the kids say, ‘The Grange is here!’