In another example of what could be referred to as Six Degrees of Separation of Porterville, if not for Porterville High graduate Kellogg's Rice Krispies may not be with us today.
An article written by Porterville Recorder reporter Esther Avila in 2015 chronicled how Vernon Grant, a 1921 Porterville High graduate, helped save what is now one of Kellogg's signature cereals. The article also covered other details of Grant's life such as Walt Disney sending his artists to Grant to teach them how to draw characters.
Grant, who died in 1990 at the age of 88, was also a renowned artist for his paintings of Santa Clause. He's also known as American's favorite children's illustrator.
Each year the city in which he lived, Rock Hill, S.C., holds a ChristmasVille Festival featuring his art. The festival features his paintings of Santa and also his art of gnomes, something else he was known for.
Each year the Museum of York County in Rock Hill releases a Christmas card featuring one of Grant's paintings of Santa. And each year, Grant's biographer, Linda Williams, sends the Christmas card to PHS. This year's Christmas card features Grant's painting of “Santa's Band.”
That's appropriate since Grant helped start what has now become the legendary Porterville Panther Band. Along with being a member of the band, Grant was also a member of the glee club, a member of the basketball team and of course the art editor of the El Granito Yearbook. Grant attended PHS when it was located at the current Belleview campus.
The museum of York County also has on a permanent display the mantle from Grant's Porterville home. A collection of Vernon Grant's art is also displayed at the Museum of York County in a gallery named in his honor.
After PHS, Grant went on to attend the University of Southern California and the University of Art Institute in Chicago.
In 1928 Kellogg's sales of Rice Krispies were struggling. But then Grant created the Snap, Crackle and Pop characters for the cereal and the rest they say is history.