A group of excited third graders at Pecan Grove Primary got to take part in a dynamic project that explores the wonders of Ascension Parish.

A group of excited third graders at Pecan Grove Primary got to take part in a dynamic project that explores the wonders of Ascension Parish.

Created as a marketing tool for The Ascension Parish Tourism Commission, "Color Your Way Through Ascension" is a coloring book that culminates the work of Pecan Grove Primary's third graders from the 2015-2016 school year and the East Ascension High School art department.

Tourism officials worked with East Ascension High School's art department and Pecan Grove Primary third grade teacher, Rebekah Norwood, to design the custom coloring book about Ascension Parish. Over 1,600 copies will be distributed - one for every third grader - in Ascension Public Schools, and the books will be used to help market Ascension Parish tourism.

"Earlier this year, we were trying to determine how we could connect the community with tourism, and so we came up with a coloring book, and we thought what a great way this will educate students about what we have in our own backyard, and what activities we can do," said Tourism Commission Executive Director Tracy Browning.

Browning said the Tourism Commission plans to bring the coloring book to trade shows and conventions to give people a real look at what Ascension Parish tourism has to offer.

"This project is really a gumbo of culture, history and food that reflects our way of life in Ascension Parish," Browning said.

Director of Primary Schools, Elizabeth Stafford, said that the third grade class was selected to curate the book because the curriculum they study reflects Louisiana history and culture. Browning said she selected Rebekah Norwood's class because she was impressed with Norwood's teaching.

"I contributed to the project by working with Ms. Browning to determine the best pictures to use for the coloring book," Norwood said. "We used the social studies expectations to help us make our decisions. I then added the captions to the bottom of the pictures.

I'm thankful for this project because it will enhance the content knowledge of our third grade students."

The drawings in the book are that of talented art students under the direction of East Ascension High School art teacher, Jeannine Dixon.

"The timing was perfect for my advanced placement students because they had just completed a 24 project portfolio and they needed more work," Dixon said.

Dixon said the young artists - Breanna Bercegeay, Dylan Aubert, Scott Bonnette and Austin Thomason - excitedly took on the project.

"My artists learned a great deal by creating this color book," Dixon said. "Not only how to simplify pictures into lines and shapes, but also how to give back to the Ascension Parish community with their artwork.

I'm very proud of my artists."

The high school artists all agreed that they are excited to have participated in the project and are ready to start coloring.

"I haven't looked at these pictures since the end of last year, so it's kind of crazy to see it all put together," Bercegeay said. "It's kind of cool - I'm definitely going to color it."

Bercegeay's excitement to color was shared by her classmate, Dylan Aubert, who said he loves to color and can't wait to do so in the book.

"I love it," Aubert said. "Seeing everything come together from last year brings back memories. I just love it and it gets the kids to smile."

Among the most excited of students was the modest cover artist, Austin Thomason, who simply said he was honored to have his drawing of the Houmas House Plantation grace the cover.

"It's really amazing," Thomason said upon noticing that his art landed on the book's cover.

The coloring book explores a variety of Ascension staples including Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church (built in the 1800's), The Cajun Village and the various festivals and creatures that can be found in the river parish.