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Ellinwood artist Poteet earns state honor
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Ellinwood artist Taylor Poteet holds up a calendar from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Poteets drew a picture that was chosen from among thousands of entries as runner-up for the 2014 Kansas Dont Spoil It calendar contest. He is pointing to his award winning drawing.

ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood Grade School second grader Taylor Poteet was unaware that the picture he drew was chosen from among thousands of entries as runner-up for the 15th annual “Kansas Don’t Spoil It” calendar contest.
“Awesome. Cool,” said Poteet when EGS Principal Eric Sjogren and art teacher Lisa McMullen told him that many children had entered the contest.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) opens voting on student artwork entries to the public. The winning entries are featured in the 2014 Kansas Don’t Spoil It Calendar. Thousands of students from all over Kansas submitted artwork to KDHE which encourages all Kansans to be good environmental stewards.
The KDHE narrows the entries to five per grade level. Voters across the state choose the winning entry for each grade. First place winning students are invited to the state capitol. They, along with their families and teachers, meet Governor Sam Brownback and have their pictures taken. Each month of the calendar features a winning entry.
“This is a popular student contest that has been running for 15 years,” said Bill Bider, director of KDHE’s Bureau of Waste Management.
Poteet’s picture features sunflowers in a train car by a pond with a dog drinking the water.
“I like to color,” said Poteet. His mother has hung up the calendar at their home.
The student came up with the idea on his own after McMullen talked to the art class about the theme. His picture is the only picture among the winning entries that has the whole page colored.
“I can’t believe March beat me,” Taylor said. Poteet thought he’d try even harder next year.
“It’s an honor to be in this calendar,” Sjogren told him.
The theme, “Kansas Don’t Spoil It,” is the same each year to encourage good environmental habits, including recycling and reusing.
McMullen has had her art students enter the calendar contest each of the last seven years.
“Taylor is the first student who won any type of recognition,” said McMullen.