Santa Paula Times

Briggs students (left) Caitlin Held and (right) Casey Siuniak were regional finalists in the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom story writing contest. Photo by Brian D. Wilson

Creative young authors recognized for their talents

February 27, 2004
Santa Paula News
The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom kicked off its tenth annual “Imagine this…” Story Writing Contest. Students throughout California participated by sharpening their pencils and their minds to create imaginative, original stories that interweave agricultural themes. The Foundation is pleased to announce that Caitlin Held, a 5th grader in Chrisann Weeks’ classroom, and Casey Siuniak, a 6th grader in Keri Collier’s classroom at Briggs School in Santa Paula have been selected as two of the 48 regional finalists! More than 10,000 stories were written in classrooms throughout the state for this year’s contest. Judging panels selected finalists from four regions in California. The eight areas of criteria include originality, grammar, and reflection of an appreciation for agriculture. The 48 regional finalists are now competing for prizes and to become one of six state winners.The winning stories and their authors will be recognized during National Agriculture Week in March during a gala awards ceremony in Sacramento. Awards include all expense paid trips to the state’s capital city for the ceremony and prizes for each student author and their teacher. The six essays will come to life through a video showcasing graphic illustrations, animation and voice-over talents created by Sacramento-area high school art and drama students. The Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium ( produces the annual video showcasing the talents of the “Imagine this…” contest.The purpose of the contest is to create a positive learning experience that promotes reading, writing and the arts, and furthers the understanding of agriculture in students’ lives.“The contest format helps teachers use agriculture as a theme to meet California Content Standards for Language Arts. The ‘Imagine this…’ contest is an example of agriculture literacy at work,” said Patricia Stever, contest coordinator for CFAITC. “Creative writing can foster a greater appreciation of the world’s most vital industry.”
“Imagine this…” is one of several programs coordinated by the Foundation to encourage teachers and students to discuss agriculture’s role in today’s economy and society. State Compensation Insurance Fund annually sponsors the contest. For more information on the contest or other agricultural literacy programs and activities, call the Foundation at 800-700-AITC (2482) or visit the Web site at