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Chatham County high school students win statewide award for community-conscious creation

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Seniors Anna Morris, Amari McDonald, Sonte Davis, Faythe Robinson and junior Ashley Johnson won first place at the Georgia 4-H's Food Product Development Contest (Credit: Merritt Melancon)

Five Chatham County high school students are taking a creative approach to healthy and homegrown snacking.

They're using their award-winning version of a "scuffin," a scone-muffin hybrid, to make it happen.

"It's a local product that uses two different Georgia crops that we produce the most of, and we combined blueberries with peanuts," said Ashley Johnson, a team member of Georgia Products Squared.

The group recently won first place at Georgia 4-H's Food Product Development Contest for its unique recipe. But, the statewide competition is more than a baking challenge.

Students have the potential to leave a real mark on their communities by marketing efficient uses of local produce.

For three years, seniors Anna Morris, Amari McDonald, Sonte Davis, Faythe Robinson and junior Ashley Johnson have been marketing, branding and perfecting their product. It's a process that requires patience and persistence.

"Last year we spent over 180 hours working on this presentation in just, like, a span of two months," said team member Anna Morris.

Faythe Robinson says the sustainable product could become a sustainable business.

"We're GAP2 and that's our business name. We actually have our product, which is the 'scuffin.' We could expand to many different -- baked goods, that are locally-grown, Georgia Products can go into," said Robinson.

But, for right now, the team is busy celebrating its special victory.

"When you've been trying for three years and it's finally over and you finally got what you needed and wanted for the long time, it really feels good," said Johnson.