Annual calendar project highlights students' work, Oregon's industry


Capital Press

What do Brandlyn Hval and Reba McEntire have in common? Both were headliners at the 2009 Oregon State Fair.

Miss McEntire, a Nashville country star, was chosen from among hundreds of entertainers to sing in concert on Labor Day, the final day of the annual fair. Miss Hval, a Portland fifth-grader, was chosen from among more than a thousand young artists to have her work appear on the cover of the annual Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom calendar.

Brandlyn and 12 other young artists -- and their teachers -- were honored Aug. 30 at a presentation at the fairgrounds' Americraft Center. In a prominent corner of the bustling exhibit hall, amid cheers, applause and flash cameras, the honored artists each took their turn on stage -- some more reluctantly than others -- to showcase their work and to be recognized for it.

Tami Kerr, executive director of Oregon Ag in the Classroom, said the winning entries were selected from 1,629 submissions from schoolchildren in 25 Oregon counties. Both rural and urban students entered, from public schools, private schools and home schools.

"We all wear clothes. We all eat," Kerr told the winners. "You have helped to showcase our ag diversity, how important agriculture is to the economy our state."

Each day of the September-through-August calendar -- so designed to coincide with the school year -- has a special notation. Some days point out Better Breakfast Month, the harvest moon, National 4-H Week and other events. Other days have a bit of trivia: Clams have no brain or eyes. An ear of corn averages 800 kernels in 16 rows. Pears have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years. More than 97 percent of Oregon farms and ranches are family-owned.

The calendar project, started in 2001, is intended to educate not only young people but all Oregonians. It's a part of an overall plan to keep agricultural issues alive and to keep the state's agricultural heritage vibrant.

Other Ag in the Classroom projects:

* "Get Oregonized," a third- and fourth-grade history book studying the state's people and natural resources.

* Classroom literacy, coordinating with schools and teachers to present a different book every year, co-sponsored by the AITC Consortium and the Agri-Business Council of Oregon.

* A newly revised Oregon commodities map.

* Lesson plans (in English and in Spanish) and hands-on activities.

The state fair spotlight, though, was on these 13 youngsters, who drew apples, potatoes, chickens, pigs, Christmas trees, crabs, the Oregon Trail, row crops, flowers, sheep, dairy, grass seed and wheat.

As each artist took the stage, family, friends and passers-by cheered with encouragement, creating a rock-star atmosphere.

Miss McEntire's concert lasted for a couple of hours or so. These students' artwork lasts all year.

Staff writer Steve Brown is based in Salem. E-mail:

The winners

Cover: Brandlyn Hval, Grade 5, Portland Christian, Portland; teachers: Mrs. Gunstone and Janelle Thomas

September: Joshua Hans, Grade 6, home school, Woodburn; teacher: Mrs. Hans

October: Lisa Hou, Grade 5, home school, Portland; teacher: Xuemei Qian

November: Katrina Cozine, kindergarten, Gray Elementary, Astoria; teacher: Ms. Silva

December: Rebekah Sadok, Grade 5, Redland Elementary, Oregon City; teacher: Mrs. McKenzie

January: Elon Grobey, Grade 4, C.S. Lewis Academy, Newberg; teacher: Myla Natvig

February: Reis Dooley, Grade 5, Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis, Corvallis; teacher: Nelia Mendonca

March: Kelsey Leighton, Grade 3, Tom McCall Elementary, Redmond; teacher: Mrs. Skinner

April: Natalie Gilley, Grade 5, home school, Beaverton; teacher: Shayla Gilley

May: Curtis Waddington Jr., Grade 5, Rockville School, Jordan Valley; teachers: Rena Uhalde and Theresa Greeley

June: Tim Kayrouz, Grade 6, Southwest Charter School, Portland; teacher: Sarah Anderson

July: Jack Suing, Grade 4, Sacred Heart School, Gervais; teacher: Amy Lear

August: Wade Fields, kindergarten, South Sherman Elementary, Grass Valley; teacher: Elizabeth Derrick and Sheri Sharp

To order a calendar

Send a check for $7 payable to:

Agriculture in the Classroom

305 Strand Agriculture Hall

Corvallis, OR 97331

Next year's contest

* The calendar contest is open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

* The theme -- as always -- is Oregon agriculture.

* Format is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, horizontal layout, using paints, markers, crayons or colored pencils (no three-dimensional pieces).

* Deadline is May 15, 2010.

* Submission details at


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