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Lions award Peace Poster contest winners

By Staff | Apr 26, 2009

Artistic talent apparently runs in the family. Twins Olivia and Kira Finan, students at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts, were the winners of the North Fort Myers Noon Lions Club annual Peace Poster contest.
Eighth grade student Olivia got first place and Kira a close second, with seventh grade student Nate Sabarro winning third place in the awards.
It’s a contest coordinator Ron Manchester of the Lions Club looks forward to every year, as Chairman of the Peace Poster Contest. He surprised the students during an art class at the Academy, and he and other Lions Club officials explained the significance of the venture.
“It’s an international contest, and the winner gets to go to the United Nations assembly to be awarded,” said Al Monack, who is president of the Noon Lions Club. “There’s a $2,500 scholarship along with the recognition. There are also 23 Merit Awards that are also given, and they are given to students from many different countries.”
Manchester noted merit awards winners from all over the globe, including Belgium, Brazil, Japan and several from the U.S., including the top poster winner from California.
The contest is open to 11, 12 and 13-year-olds from around the world. But local students doing the exceptional artwork is the local Lions Club’s pride.
“We start at a local level, and then send them to regional,” Monack said.
“We provide materials for the kids to do the posters,” said Manchester. From there, the students do the artwork, and the school coordinates picking the top pics to give to Lions Club officials for their own judging.
The Club works through school nurse and fellow Lions Club member Maiya Christensen to coordinate the judging.
“This first went through our art teacher, Theresa West-Taylo, who picked the top entries,” said Christensen. “She choose the top ones to submit to the Lions Club to be judged. We wanted to recognize the students in the school.”
The top three were presented with gift certificates from Wal-Mart in denominations of $75 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third place, something they were all excited about.
“This contest is always wonderful,” said Academy Principal Dr. Douglas Santini. “It gets the kids involved in looking at world peace and our kids need to be part of that. It’s also a way to show off our artwork.”
“All three of these students are in my advanced class, they are some of my best students,” said art teacher Theresa West-Taylo. “They were inspired by the peace poster idea, and the idea behind world peace, and doing it through children,” she said. “It’s a great idea, and a great thing to reinforce with kids, especially at this age. They want to know what is going on in the world, what a difference they can make. We appreciate this opportunity.”
You can learn more about the Peace Poster Contest at lionsclubinternational.com.