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Gainesville teens win spot beside Jimmy Carter in parade
Gainesville High School students John Jennings, 16, a sophomore, and Kelly Mattick, 16, a junior, won the Plains, Peanuts and a President postcard contest, sponsored by the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Education Program and the Peanut Institute. Among the prizes included for winning the contest, Jennings and Mattick will have the opportunity to meet former President Jimmy Carter at the Plains Peanut Festival Saturday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Postcard renderings by two Gainesville High School students have landed them a spot in the Peanut Festival parade alongside former president Jimmy Carter.

Out of 16,000 entries state wide, Gainesville High students Kelly Mattick and John Jennings won awards for their drawings that depicted former President Carter, his hometown of Plains and a peanut on 4-by-6 inch note cards. The Plains, Peanuts and a President postcard contest is sponsored by the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Education Program and the Peanut Institute.

Mattick took first place in the state for high school juniors and Jennings took second place in the state for high school sophomores.

The students have been invited to Plains, home of Jimmy Carter, to participate in the Peanut Festival. They will also meet President Carter and will receive a certificate and an autographed book from the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

"I didn’t even know we had a peanut festival," Mattick said.

Mattick said she drew a bird’s eye view of a peanut-shaped blimp in the sky bearing a caricature of Jimmy Carter. The blimp flies in the sky over a cornfield in which the name "Plains," is mowed.

"I had Jimmy Carter busting out of a peanut in front of a sign they have on Main Street in Plains, Ga," Jennings said.

He said he drew the sign from memory, recalling an eighth-grade school field trip to Plains. A peanut statue featuring Jimmy Carter’s toothy grin is in the background of Jennings’ postcard.

Gainesville High School art teachers Joe Emery and Clay Sayre encouraged students to participate in the contest. Emery said he presented the project to students as one they could include in their semester portfolios, which drew many students to the relatively small 4- by-6 inch drawing task.

While Mattick said she was stunned to learn her drawing placed first in the state for juniors, Jennings said he’s a little bit anxious about meeting Carter.

"I was glad I won, but I was nervous and terrified that I was going to meet the president," Jennings said.

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