Creating Cover Art

Posted: April 21, 2020

What does agriculture look like to an elementary student? As part of Farm Bureau’s new cover design contest, students showed us by drawing illustrations depicting agriculture.

In 1990, DeKalb County Farm Bureau launched a poster contest for elementary students. Three years later, it became a t-shirt design contest. In 2002, students were asked to design placemats. This year the contest was transformed again, becoming the CONNECTIONS Magazine Cover Design Contest.

What hasn’t changed in all that time is that DeKalb County children are still employing their artistic talents to illustrate their knowledge of agriculture. In doing so, they are much more likely to remember what they have learned.

The contest is designed to encourage elementary teachers to incorporate lessons about agriculture. While the theme for each grade correlates with Ag in the Classroom lessons presented by Farm Bureau volunteers earlier in the year, many teachers augment student learning with ag-focused books, videos, and class discussions.

Once they’ve gained an understanding of the topic, students reinforce what they’ve learned by creating their magazine cover designs.

Design themes remain the same as in the past. They include: 1st grade – “If I were a Farmer,” 2nd grade – “Thanks to Dairy Cows,” 3rd grade – “Farm Grown,” 4th grade – “I’m Connected to Agriculture,” and 5th grade – “Agriculture Careers.”

Forty teachers from 14 schools submitted 653 student designs for the contest in March. Entries were judged by the Farm Bureau Ag Literacy Committee. Members of the committee reviewed the designs by grade level, selecting first, second, and third place winners and up to five honorable mention recipients per grade.

Of the five first place winners, Farm Bureau staff then selected the design most suitable for the CONNECTIONS Magazine cover to be the grand prize winner.

This year’s cover contest grand prize winner is Micaella Stover. Her design is shown on the front cover (and on opposite page). Micaella submitted the winning entry for second grade entitled, “Thanks to Dairy Cows.” She is a student at Southeast Elementary in Sycamore and her teacher is Mrs. Lysa Wright.

First place winners in each of the other grades included: First Grade – Charlie Knaak of Cortland Elementary; Third Grade – Sydney Smith of Indian Creek Elementary; Fourth Grade – James Bend of Indian Creek Elementary and Fifth Grade – Everet Hulthen of Indian Creek Middle School. (See opposite page for a complete list of winners.) Their designs are shown on these pages and the back cover.

First through third place winners received gift cards, honorable mention recipients earned special certificates, and all entrants will receive participation ribbons. CONNECTIONS magazines will be provided to all the first place winners.

View the full list of winners and honorable mentions HERE.