Valerie Phillips: Beehive State again making waves for food by winning national competitions

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 2:00 p.m. MST

In a more youthful competition, Chandler Wambach of St. George became a grade-winner out of 29,000 entries in Olive Garden's Pasta Tales. His winning essay answered Olive Garden's question: "If you were given $5,000 to support education in your local community, how would you use it and why?" He wrote about why he would give the money to his local library.

This year's Pasta Tales received more than 29,000 entries, and Chandler's was chosen as the best-written entry by a first-grader. As a grade-level winner, Chandler won a $500 savings bond and a dinner with his family at his local Olive Garden. Wambach is home-schooled. The grand prize winner was fifth-grader Caroline Dupree of Bossier City, La., and Olive Garden is donating $5,000 to her school.

The entries judged on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling, by the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa.

Here is Wambach's winning essay:

"If I were given $5,000 for education, I would give it to my library.

"I read the book 'Day of the Dragon King,' by Mary Pope Osborne, where the emperor was burning books and I don't want that to happen again.

"I like my library because it lets people check out books. I want my library to get new children's books on CD. I've listened to all the ones they have. I would also like them to get more videos like 'Adventures from the Book of Virtues' and 'Bill Nye the Science Guy.'

"I would also get more computers and programs for the children's area. This is what I would do with $5,000 for education."

Valerie Phillips is the former Deseret News food editor and author of "Soup's On!" She blogs at ww.chewandchat.blogspot.com. Email: vphillips@desnews.com

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