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Jimmy Carter honors area third-grader

POSTED: September 29, 2013 12:03 a.m.

Linda Martinez, a Fair Street International Baccalaureate third-grade student, was honored by former President Jimmy Carter on Saturday in Plains.

Linda, 9, was the third grade third-place winner in an art contest sponsored by the Peanut Institute and the Jimmy Carter NHS Education Program.

She traveled with her parents, older brother Hiram and art instructor Tracy Troutman to receive the award.

“I showed them the last year’s winners, to show them you really have to give it your best work if you want it to qualify,” Troutman said. “To be one of 38 winners out of 14,000, that’s awesome, and we can appreciate that more than she could, perhaps. But she definitely knew it was cool.”

Students in grades kindergarten through 12 were tasked with creating a submission representing the theme, “Peanuts: Our World in a Nutshell.”

“It’s a great picture,” Troutman said. “Hers had a world, and a picture of a little girl standing on top of the world, who really looked like her. There are peanuts floating around the world, and there’s an American flag.”

Troutman said the event itself was fun, where “no two people were from the same place.”

Beyond that, she said, the contest and trip presented a unique opportunity to apply art’s place in academia.

“Art, it’s connected to social studies, it connects to science, connects to literature, it connects to all those academic subjects, and this was such a social studies lesson that she happened to get through her art class,” she said, adding that they read Carter’s biography on the way to Plains. “That’s part of why I love to teach art so much.”

She hopes Linda wears her medal with pride to school.

“You could tell she was really proud. I said I think she should wear her medal on Monday,” Troutman said. “She’s a good little artist. She’s just a student that you notice.”

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