Amity Lions Club chooses Peace Poster winner

News photo by Denise Larive Peace poster
News photo by Denise Larive

What does peace look like through the eyes of children?

Each year, Lions Clubs International asks that question of eleven to 13-year-olds and receives approximately 400,000 replies in the form of the Peace Posters to the Lions International Peace Poster Contest.

Representatives of Amity Township’s Lion’s Club selected the local winner from seven finalist entries, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Daniel Boone Middle School, Weavertown Road, Amityville.

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The winner of this year’s Peace Poster Project is eighth grader Gabrielle Reina.

Finalists are seventh graders Cameron Nicoline, Abbey Riker, and Avae Busch.

Eighth grade finalists are Madelyn Levy, Lily Kurtz, and Pierson Busch.

The art contest is conducted in schools and youth groups throughout the world and “encourages young people worldwide to express their visions of peace,” says Lions International.

This year’s theme is “Our World, Our Future.”

Contest participants may use any art medium including charcoal, crayon, pencil and paint, to express the themeon either a 13 x 20” or 20 x 24” background.

Patricia Kutz, district governor of the Berks and Chester county clubs, participated in the local judging on Nov. 5.

She said the winner would be the one that best fit’s the theme, follows all the directions, is original, and which has artistic merit.

Kutz will deliver Reina’s poster to the state competition for the Dec. 15 judging against 17 other districts.

The Nov. 5 judging was also attended by Amity Township Lions Club President Steven Miller, Immediate Past President David Rathgeb, and Daniel Boone Middle School Principal Robert Hurley.

If it wins at the state level, it advances to international competition in late January, early February, where 24 posters are selected.

According to the Lions Club International website, “For 25 years, more than eight million children from nearly 100 countries have participated in the contest. The contest’s purpose is to spread peace and international understanding. The works created are unique and express the young artists’ life experiences and culture. Posters are shared globally via the Internet, the media and exhibits around the world.”

At the international level, judges from the art, peace, youth, education and media communities select one grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners.

The international winner and the finalists are notified on or before Feb. 1.

The grand prize is $5,000 and a trip to a special award ceremony with the sponsoring club president and two family members at Lions Day with the United Nations (subject to change).

The other 23 merit award winners receive $500 each and a certificate of achievement.

District winners also receive a certificate of achievement.

Past Peace Poster Contest grand prize winners have come from Brazil, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Martinique, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Multiple District 300 Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.

Middle School Art Teachers Amy Richard and Scott Kempes presented their sixth through eighth grade students with the contest two weeks into the school year.

They helped the students brainstorm and sketch their ideas.

Richard said about 12 students came back, interested in participating in the contest.

Hurley said the school’s annual participation in the contest is designed to extend and enrich the curriculum.

“It’s impressive to see what they come back with,” said Kempes.

“A lot of them said it was harder than they thought it would be, but it’s neat to see how they met the challenge.”

Lions Club representatives, Hurley, Richard and Kempes said they may present the contest and theme next spring to all eligible students, to allow students more time to brainstorm and sketch their ideas for the 2014 Peace Poster Contest.