Student rewarded for gardening skills

ELKINS – Elected officials gathered Tuesday at Midland Elementary School to congratulate fourth-grade student Anna Belan for receiving a $1,000 check for her future education.

Anna was selected as the West Virginia winner in the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program.

Anna’s name was selected randomly after she grew a huge cabbage this fall while participating in the program.

West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick thanked Midland students for participating.

“Congratulations to Anna and everyone who grew a cabbage through the program,” Helmick said. “Food is a product everyone eats. Thanks to everyone. Anna, you are special.”

Anna said she was very excited by the award. When asked by Helmick if she was going to continue to grow plants, Anna said she and her family grow peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Troy Coupel, a representative from Bonnie Plants, dropped off cabbage plants for this year’s third-grade students.

“Enjoy growing your own food,” Coupel said. “Growing food is fun and it’s even more fun when you grow things you want to eat. We hope you are excited about planting and growing your own foods.”

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