Students at Ira Jones Elementary win $5,000 in national milk carton art creation contest

Trivia time: Evergreen Human Resources Manager Kevin Young hands out Walmart gift cards to students answering paper trivia questions.

An art project spawning a 12-foot tall giraffe made of recycled milk cartons has netted Ira B. Jones Elementary a check for a cool $5,000.

In all his glory: Jerry the giraffe stands proud outside the auditorium at Ira B. Jones Elementary.
In all his glory: Jerry the giraffe stands proud outside the auditorium at Ira B. Jones Elementary.

Evergreen Packaging presented the check Feb. 13 at the school as part of its nationwide Made by Milk Carton Creation Contest. Ira B. Jones captured the grand prize after art teacher Vicki Hall‘s class took the lead and made Jerry out of 1,500 milk cartons.

Waiting in the wings: the moment before the check is presented.
Waiting in the wings: the moment before the check is presented.

“Jerry’s going to be staying here for a long time,” said Principal Sarah Cain. “I’ve been giving tours to parents, we come around that corner and see him and they go ‘whoa! This is where I want my kids to go!'”

The contest stipulated students had to use a minimum of 100 empty milk cartons, and write a 200-word essay on how the school would utilize the prize money. The giraffe ties in with recent studies of West Africa.

“The kids wanted to have a running track put in,” said Hall. “We investigated, the materials alone are $24,000, so we might investigate some fundraising options.”

Since the 2012 inception of the Made By Milk contest, Evergreen Packaging, which has a plant in Canton, has awarded cash prizes to 58 winning schools across the country.

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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

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