Imagination Taking Her to New Levels

A figment of one area elementary student's imagination could soon rank up there with "Tony the Tiger" and "Mr. Clean". The Dole fruit company has adopted a new character designed by an enterprising second grader from Thomasville.

"Cutie Fruitie" is a fruit bowl, only "Cutie" is the star of a comic strip designed by Garrison-Pilcher student Rachel Smith and the "bowl" is soon-to-be the newest addition to Dole fruit packaging across the country.

It takes months to grow the perfect pineapple, but Rachel Smith says coming up with a name for a "fruity" new campaign is much less time-consuming.

Rachel, a second-grader at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary, is the grand-prize winner of the Dole food company's "five-a-day friend bowl us over" contest. Rachel created Dole's new "Fruit Bowl" character with her own hands.

“We decided to make it fun by giving kids blank comic strips so they could develop a name for the character and a personality and a story," says Amy Myrdal

Look at this fruit bowl, and then look at me. You wouldn't think we had much in common, but mix Rachel Smith's aspirations and imagination and you get 'Cutie Fruitie', who will bring you the best fruit and vegetable news from around the country!

“Rachel and I talked about Cutie being a reporter and going from getting the California pineapples to the Georgia peaches and she traveled and talked about the different areas of the states," says Marty Prine.

Dole posted the creations of three finalists online for people to choose a winner and 'cutie fruitie' swept the competition with 11,000 votes!

Rachel says the creation of "cutie" just came naturally.

Rachel's competitors in the contest didn't even come close to her 11,000 votes. He next runner-up received only about 3,000.

Rachel received a $250 gift certificate to Toys 'R Us, and her teacher and cafeteria manager got $150 combined in gift certificates to

Rachel says the best reward is having "cutie" featured on Dole packaging. She says she can't wait to see it in the grocery store.