A student at Omega Elementary School had the opportunity to meet former President Jimmy Carter in Americus after she was entered into an art contest by her teacher and won first place in her grade.
Teacher Carla Denham said fifth grader Britney Garcia, 11, participated in the Digging Peanuts in Plains Post Card Contest, which is co-sponsored by The Peanut Institute and the Jimmy Carter NHS Education Program.
She stated that there were over 8,000 participants and Garcia took first place in fifth grade in the whole state of Georgia.
Garcia received a certificate, medal, large copy of her post card and a signed book by Carter, as well as had the honor of meeting him. Garcia’s post card and all other winning grade level post cards will be on display at Plains High School Museum through January 2013.
Denham said she noticed that Garcia was extraordinary in drawing and she thought that the contest would be great for her. She noted that she learned about the contest through an e-mail from Principal Victoria Melton.
She stated that she explained the rules of the contest to Garcia, which were that her drawing had to have a peanut and something to do with America. She also discussed with her about Carter, who served as the 39th President of the United States and grew up in the small farming town of Plains.
“I gave her an index card and she went back to her desk and drew it,” Denham said. “She took the project on herself.”
She and Counselor Nerily Lopez said Garcia’s post card drawing of the peanut resembled Uncle Sam holding the American flag. Also, there were fireworks drawn around the peanut.
“One thing she said was that she liked Katy Perry,” Denham stated. “That’s why she put the fireworks.”
Also, under the patriotic drawing were the words: “You can’t top a 39th peanut.”
Lopez stated, “She has come a long way. Due to the language barrier, she didn’t talk much, but she’s crossed that barrier. We are very proud of her. She loves to draw and has been drawing for a long time.”
Denham said Garcia was “beside herself” when she told her that she had won first place. She stated that she and another teacher took Garcia to Americus Sept. 15 to receive her award and have her picture taken with Carter. She also had a chance to visit Plains High School Museum, which she really enjoyed, said Denham.
She stated, “She kept saying: ‘I can’t believe I got to meet the 39th president;’ and ‘I never had a teacher do that for me.’ It was a special day.”
She noted that they stopped and ate at a restaurant, and Garcia’s reaction to that was: “I never had a teacher take me to eat.”
“That was a great day for her and a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the 39th president,” Denham said.
She and Lopez stated that Garcia’s parents are very supportive of her.
When asked if she enjoyed her visit to Americus and meeting Carter, Garcia shyly smiled and quickly shook her head up and down.
She stated that she was surprised when she found out that she had won first place and that her mother screamed with excitement.
Garcia agreed that it was a happy day for her.
“She’s very humble,” Lopez said, smiling at Garcia.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.