Family Recipe Lands One Elementary School Student $15K (VIDEO)

Students and staff from Stonegate Elementary School gathered in the school’s gymnasium early Wednesday for a secret assembly to recognize student Savannah Markwood.

Her family’s pumpkin stuffed bell pepper recipe landed her a total of $15,000 in Uncle Ben’s National Beginners Cooking Contest.

The Ben’s Beginners Contest was created to inspire families to spend more time in the kitchen. More than 500 families submitted photos that showcased a finished rice-based dish they prepared using Uncle Ben’s Rice.

After their submissions, finalists had to get their family, friends, and their community to vote for their recipes.  Finalists were judged on creativity, presentation and appetite appeal, all while keeping up with the Ben’s Beginner’s goal of bringing families together to cook.

Savannah Markwood is one of five winners from across the country to be selected this year.

“I am so proud,” James Markwood, Savannah’s father said. “I am so proud of Colleen [Savannah’s mom] for putting all of this together because she gets out there and cooks every night with the kids.”

In addition to Savannah’s grand prize, Stonegate Elementary School received $30,000 for a cafeteria makeover.

“I am looking forward to updating the cafeteria,” Linda Jones, principal of Stonegate Elementary, said. “I’m thinking some new floors, some new paintings, a mural and I would like new tables.”

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Mitti Hicks

About Mitti Hicks

Mitti Hicks is a multimedia journalist and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She is passionate about telling stories that impact our community and may be reached at and on Twitter @mittimegan.


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