Student honored for colossal cabbage

ELKINS – A local student has been awarded a $1,000 savings bond toward her education by the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program.

Anna Belan, a third-grader at Midland Elementary School, was selected randomly after growing a huge cabbage this fall while participating in the program.

Anna’s teacher, Debbie Saseen, said she is thrilled that her student was selected to win.

“My classroom has participated in the program for a number of years,” Saseen said.

“Cabbage plants are shipped to the school each year through the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program. Everyone in the class gets a cabbage plant to take home and care for.”

Saseen said the program is valuable because it is hands-on and gets families working together.

“Students learn about science as they care for the plant,” Saseen said. “The kids get so excited and they really enjoy it. Students have even brought in food to share that they have cooked with the cabbages they grew.”

Anna’s mother, Amanda Belan, said Anna took her cabbage plant to Coalton and planted it in her grandparent’s garden. Grandparents Corina and John Belan have a garden in Elkins and Coalton, and they helped Anna with her gardening.

“I never dreamed Anna would be selected for the prize,” Corina Belan said. “The plant started out pretty shaggy, but we covered it with a flower pot after planting it and it grew and grew. It did better than any of our other cabbage plants.”

Corina Belan said Anna gave her part of the humongous cabbage.

“We made coleslaw with half and used the other half to make fried cabbage and leeks,” Corina Belan said. “It was very tasty.”

Amanda Belan said Anna was thrilled with the win.

“We found out she was selected during the recent snow days,” Amanda Belan said. “She was so excited and so surprised with her win. She often goes on Saturdays with her grandmother to the Elkins Farmers Market to help her sell her items.”

When Anna grows up, she wants to be a professional soccer player, or a photographer. She plans to add the $1,000 savings bond to her savings fund for her education.

The Belans raise a small garden at their home which includes tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Anna said her favorite vegetable is the cucumber.

In 2013, more than 1.5 million third-graders in 48 states received gardening experience growing the cabbage. In West Virginia, more than 3,800 students participated in the program, including students at Valley Head Elementary, Pickens School, Philippi Elementary, Moorefield Intermediate, Homestead Elementary, Third Ward Elementary, North Elementary, Midland Elementary, George Ward Elementary, Jennings Randolph Elementary, Tennerton Elementary, Beverly Elementary, Belington Elementary, Harman School and Coalton Elementary.

Registration for the 2014 National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program is available at