Winning poster shows, ‘We are all connected’

  • Linda Columbus, The Lions of Templeton and Phillipston Chairperson, Mason Reed, Contest winner, Janet Dupuis, art teacher at Narragansett Middle School. Contributed photo

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 5/15/2022 4:19:29 PM
Modified: 5/15/2022 4:17:42 PM

Yes, we are all connected the world over. What happens in one country affects what happens in other countries, both economically and emotionally. We have the perfect example of it now in how the happenings in Ukraine touch us all.

The Lions Club International has a worldwide poster contest for middle school art students to express their visions of world peace. Since 1988, the peace poster contest spurs young people to think about the world, better understand each other, make it a more caring place, and promote peace.

The contest is open to students between the ages of 11 and 13. The Lions of Templeton and Phillipston have sponsored it for about 30 years at Narragansett Middle School. A new theme is chosen every year by Lions Club International. This year’s theme seems especially appropriate: “We Are All Connected.” More than 600,000 students from over 200 countries participate in the contest; 120 took part from Narragansett.

Art teacher Janet Dupuis said she motivates her classes by showing them posters that represent previous years’ themes, and guides the students who participate. The poster has to give a visual message — no words — so people in all countries can “read” its meaning. Conveying a poster message with no words is a challenging assignment, and it becomes part of their art grade.

The Lions judge the results and the winner goes on to compete with the winners from the 49 clubs in the district. In judging, they look for an important message of peace, the artwork, and originality in the piece. The Lions here are very proud that the winner from Narragansett went on to win the district prize.

Linda Columbus has been the peace poster chairperson of the Templeton Lions since 2010 and Marilyn Holway has been the Phillipston Lions chairperson since 2007. The Lions distribute the international contest theme to the schools, judge them, frame the winning poster and the ones that receive honorable mention.

Seventh grader Mason Reed of Baldwinville was this year’s winner. He depicted the world surrounded by flags of many nations, and all the flags are connected by a chain. Without any words, it communicates the theme’s message. Mason said he spent a lot of time thinking about it before he was ready to start. When I asked him if he liked the assignment, he said, “I enjoyed doing it because I got to do whatever I wanted to do with the theme.” He used oil pastels, sharpies, and colored pencils to do it.

Mason said he was excited about winning. He and his parents, along with Linda Columbus, were invited to attend a dinner at a hotel in Sturbridge where he was presented the district award. Linda presented him with a plaque from the Lions.

He said he loves to draw and spends a lot of time doing it. His efforts show. I told him he has a hobby to enjoy all his life.

Four Narragansett students with impressive works received honorable mention: Matthew Whaley, Brooke Haddocks, Anna Ogonowski, and Faith Moser. Their art included hearts to show love, peace symbols, hands of all colors to show unity, and figures representing many religions joined with peace symbols. Recently, the Lions gave a pizza party and a gift to celebrate the 15 students whose works had high artistic merit that met the requirements of the contest.

The school has an art program to be proud of. Janet Dupuis said, “If it weren’t for the Lions Club, this project wouldn’t happen.” It’s their effort to make our leaders of tomorrow think about ways to promote world peace.

Occasional columnist Carole Gariepy of Phillipston has written seven books, all nonfiction. A recent one is a travel book, “Why Go There?” In her younger years, she was a teacher.

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