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Denair students win awards for agricultural short stories
writing contest pic
Winners of the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom writing contest, Matthew Reis and Morgan Gravatt, students at Gratton Elementary in Denair, proudly hold their medal. - photo by MACIE BENNETT / The Journal

Two Denair elementary students won top honors for their respective short stories in the California Foundation’s Agriculture in the Classroom Writing Contest.

Morgan Gravatt, a third grader at Gratton Elementary, was recognized for her short story, “Friends in the Garden.”

Matthew Reis, a fourth grader at Gratton, won with his short story “Team Hamburger Support,” which is about a boy who only eats fast food and then realizes the benefits of eating healthy.

Gravatt and Reis’ stories were two of the four Stanislaus County works selected for honor from more than 8,000 essays written by 3rd-8th grade students throughout California.

“I was like screaming I was so excited,” said Gravatt of winning the award.

The students were presented with awards on Wednesday at the State Capitol Governors Council Room. 

The contest aims to further the public's understanding of agriculture and is an advocate for reading, writing and art in elementary schools.

“We encourage the students to continue learning about the vital role agriculture plays in our daily lives," said CFAITC Executive Director Judy Culbertson.

Hundreds of teachers in California participate in the contest every year.  Students are assigned a research project on the agriculture industry and are encouraged to turn their research into a creative story for the contest.

“Writing allows me to express myself,” said Reis. 

Reis came up with his story idea when his class was learning about nutrition and felt that other kids in the community should know about eating healthy.

The two students wore their medals from the contest to school all week.

“I wore my medal yesterday,” said Gravatt, “all my friends were proud of me.”