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Heather Scheck is getting a lot of mileage out of a school project.

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Heather Scheck is getting a lot of mileage out of a school project.

Now, she will be taking her pink pig Valentine card box to the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson in September.

The 11-year-old Victoria girl constructed the box as part of a Valentine's Day assignment at Victoria Elementary School in February.

"(The project) was supposed to be creative, so I started out trying to make a steer," said Heather, who changed her mind mid-project because "it looked more like a pig."

Most of Heather's 4-H projects as a member of the Victoria Vikings club deal with live animals, so she decided to enter her pig made out of a gallon plastic milk jug covered with quilt batting she spray-painted pink in arts and crafts.

At Monday's judging in the Schenk Building at the Ellis County Fairgrounds, Heather was awarded a purple state-fair qualifying ribbon in the recycling crafts category.

Heather's mom, Tessa Scheck, smiled when her oldest daughter told her about the purple ribbon.

Tessa did not participate in 4-H as a youngster, but her husband, Justin Scheck, did. And she said she is having fun "learning a lot how things work."

Heather, along with her younger sister, 7-year-old Lindsey, will enter their livestock -- bucket calves, steers and swine -- in the fair today.

Although more comfortable with animal projects, Tessa said "my philosophy is I'm going to let them try whatever they want to try."

Mixing in other projects with their animals has proven a good move for the Schecks.

Lindsey, a Cloverbud (or pre-4H'er) also earned high marks for her entry in arts and crafts, a 5-by-7-inch cardboard covered with aluminum foil, using melty beads to shape a boot and printing this year's fair slogan "Cowboy Boots and Country Roots" on it.

"I think it's really special because she made her own pattern," Carol Brull, the judge for Cloverbud projects Monday, said about Lindsey's project.

Activity around the fairgrounds picked up later that evening as the first animals came to the fairgrounds.

By night, rabbits and poultry, and even some peacocks, were settling in for a week away from home in the small animal barn.

"It's been a long week already," said 17-year-old K.C. Windholz, a member of the Ellis Sunflowers club while feeding and watering her rabbits.

The final 4-H projects, with the exception of floriculture, were to be entered today -- food, crops, horticulture and livestock were scheduled to be entered in the 4-H competition today, with floriculture rounding out the entries Wednesday.