HAMILTON -- A new food truck will help Hamilton City Schools fill kids' stomachs, but before it hits the road, it's feeding their creativity.
District officials are currently in the process of purchasing a food truck, which will be used to serve food during activities like field days and athletic events.
"It's just another wonderful tool to promote food service and food and healthy eating," said Cinde Gorbandt, director of dining services for Hamilton City Schools.
The food truck also will operate throughout the summer, providing food for youngsters during the day.
"The whole idea behind it is to feed students during the day during the summer hours when they obviously don't have access to food at school," said Hamilton City Schools Business Manager Larry Knapp.
Although the purchase is in the hands of district officials, Gorbandt wanted to include students in the process as well. She created an art contest, challenging the district's pupils to design the wrap that will be used for the truck.
"I wanted the food truck to represent Hamilton City Schools, and the wrap around it is the visual that you're going to see," Gorbandt said.
Out of about 25 designs submitted district-wide, Gorbandt, Knapp and Superintendent Tony Orr selected fifth-grader Louiya Anthony's as the winner.
The design, for which Anthony won a $500 gift card, features children playing on slides and teeter-totters resembling fruits and vegetables.
"You'll definitely know it is the school district food truck when you see it rolling down the road," Gorbandt said.
Diana Fazio, who teaches art at Fairwood Elementary, handed out applications to students she thought might be interested in the contest. Having seen Anthony's illustrations and her passion for art, Fazio wasn't surprised when she submitted a design.
"She is new to our building this year, and right off the bat she was showing me her sketchbook," Fazio said.
"She is quite the talented young lady," said Fairwood Elementary Principal Paige Patton-Radel.
Although it wasn't surprising for Anthony to participate in the contest, Fazio wasn't expecting the fanfare when Gorbandt, Knapp and Patton-Radel showed up at her art class to recognize her.
"We all kind of stormed her classroom once her sister gave us the go-ahead," Patton-Radel said.
"I was in tears when they showed up at my door, and I saw her little design in the woman's hand," Fazio said. "I was jumping up and down. I was so ecstatic, because she deserves it."
Anthony was excited too, although maybe a bit less surprised than Fazio. She'd heard the winner would be announced Jan. 10, so when she overheard her sister on the phone with Patton-Radel, she began to wonder if her design had been selected.
"People that don't really know me, I bet that they were thinking that I wasn't really surprised that I won," she said. "I was kinda surprised, but I kinda knew."
It didn't take long to make up her mind how to spend the gift card either. She's looking forward to using the money for art and music supplies, including markers, canvas, paint, paintbrushes and a keyboard.
While the purchase process is underway, Anthony and district officials are excited to see her design on the food truck as well.
"I look forward to being able to see how the community reacts to it," Gorbandt said.