In the early 1950s, the La Cañada Valley Sun began challenging fifth-graders from all the town’s elementary schools to put forth their best artistic rendering of “Thanksgiving in America” for an inaugural holiday-themed art contest.
The idea was to reach out to students who were learning about early American history — and reading accounts from participants in the first-ever Thanksgiving feast in 1621 — and get them opining about what Thanksgiving means to them and their families today.
Now, 68 years later, the Valley Sun is pleased to report fifth-graders are still taking up the challenge. This year, staff members pored through 194 entries submitted by students at Paradise Canyon, La Cañada and Palm Crest elementary schools.
Art pieces received generally fell into one of four main categories: general excellence, patriotic, humorous and best turkey.
Phoebe Lee, a La Cañada Elementary School fifth-grader from Lauren Schour’s class, received the top overall award this year for general excellence for her vivid portrayal of a harvest theme with reference to the first Thanksgiving celebration.
Another standout submission came from Ophelia Larsen, an LCE student in Annette Fuelling’s class, whose depiction of the friendship between a girl and turkey earned her the distinction of the “Most Unique” art piece.