Local children pick up three top Elks awards in state
Local Elks Lodge 2742 of North Fort Myers supports local students with a poster contest every year, and this year, representatives were proud that three of their winners were the top state winners for posters on drug awareness.
The winners were all students from Bayshore Elementary, Annie Crouch, Caitlen Parkes and Jennifer Lopez.
“There Are Better Things To Do Than Drugs” was the name of the contest, said Thelma Wright-Smith, local coordinator of the contest. “In the state contest, Caitlain took first in state, Annie second, and Jennifer third.”
Representatives from Elks Lodge’s from around the state gathered at Elks Youth Camp Umatilla, Florida — mid-state — for a quarterly meeting of the officers and members lodges throughout the state.
This was the first time for a state wide contest on the artwork, said Wright-Smith. “The awards were presented at the lodge with families present, while enjoying dinner. All three families attended.”
The winners and their families were also honored last week with a special dinner at the local lodge, located on Twinbrooks Rd. in North Fort Myers.
“They had no idea they had won the state — they knew they won the local contest but were surprised when they got to the state competition. They were very pleased, and got monetary awards,” she said.
“Thelma has been promoted to state chairman for the Drug Awareness Education Program,” said husband and Elk Life Member Ken Smith. “It’s quite an honor.”
She will be in charge to pass on eduction on drug awareness for lodges throughout Florida. “We suggest they do the poster contest. The Elks have a lot of educational pamphlets to try to get them at an early stage, to get kids aware of the problems of being on drugs.
“When they do the posters, they are thinking about the problem. We give the schools pamphlets of information, the teachers use it and they review it before the kids do the posters.”
“We were so excited our students were recognized for top honors,” said Bayshore Elementary Principal Lynn Herrell. “All three are great kids, and a reflection of the spirit here at Bayshore.”
“I’m very proud of the students, said Bayshore Elementary Guidance Counselor Jan Moretti, who helped coordinate the project. “It was all voluntary. Boys and girls were asked to do a poster in third and fourth grades and our students won. The next stop is a national competition, where we hope to see them win and be in a special coloring book that features those winners.”
Moretti said she wanted to commend the local Elks Club for their support.
“They (Elks) are wonderful and generous.