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The media team, "Me and My Peeps" depicted "The Wizard of Oz" with their diorama "Somewhere Over the Peepbow."

The 'peeple's' choice

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Every year, the Pioneer Press' annual Peeps diorama contest draws hundreds of submissions. Well, this year Royal Oaks Elementary decided to get in on the fun in its own way.

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Royal Oaks teachers held their own Peeps diorama contest. Students voted on their favorite.

"A few of us who have seen the Pioneer Press contest brought it up to the principal and she agreed that it would be a good idea to kind of perk everyone up," media specialist Lisa Lutton said. "With the Peeps diorama contest, it's always fun seeing the creativity and seeing the new ideas that people have for sharing their favorite books and movies."

There were only two requirements for Royals Oaks' Peeps diorama contest: it had to have Peeps and it had to be about a children's book.

"That was about as far as we went with the requirements," Lutton said. "The book theme fits really well with our student population and our school."

In total, four dioramas were submitted to the contest -- "Green Peeps and Ham," "Harry Peeper," "Somewhere Over the Peepbow" and "Diary of a Wimpy Peep."

"Somewhere Over the Peepbow," designed by the media staff, dubbed "Me and My Peeps," was the students' choice.

"Everybody worked on them after school and on weekends and got together," Lutton said. "Now that the teachers have seen this, they're all excited for next year."

Lutton said her team, the media team, decided on "The Wizard of Oz" for their diorama because it gave them a chance to bring in a lot of color.

"We threw a whole lot of different books around, but we figured the kids would go for the color, the sparkle and the glitz," she said.

Lutton said it took the team between four and six hours to finish the diorama.

"It was a little stressful at first," she said. "But, once we got into it, it was a lot of fun."

The diorama used the various colored Peeps to simulate the rainbow and chocolate bunnies were dressed up to portray Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and even Toto.

"Once we put it all together we realized the scale of it was too big to use Peeps for the characters," Lutton said. "As we were wandering the Easter candy aisles, we thought maybe the bunnies would be better sized."

Gummy candies were used for the flowers and the sun.

Along the way, the media team did encounter a few snafus.

"We had two versions of the rainbow because we had one that ended up being too big and too heavy so the whole thing fell over," she said. "And we did have an unfortunate incident where a child bit the heels off two of the bunnies, but the bunny survived."

Lutton said the Peeps diorama contest was very well received.

"Everyone has been coming in to take a look," she said. "The kids are even asking about who's going to take them home and eat them when we're all done."

Lutton said many of the teachers are even considering entering their dioramas into the Pioneer Press Peeps contest.

"We might as well, because why let all that hard work go to waste?" she said.

Lutton said she hopes this will be the beginning of a long tradition at Royal Oaks.

"I think it's going to be very competitive next year among the teachers," she said. "We're thinking we need something mechanical next year -- we need to up the ante."

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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