Students “Just Say No” in colorful way

VFW contest fosters awareness of drug and alcohol abuse

By Patty Unruh

Two students from Gilpin County School placed in the top five in Colorado for their age categories in the recent Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) “Just Say No” to drugs and alcohol coloring contest. Jasmine Arends won second place locally in the third and fourth-grade category, and Katy Marr also won second place locally in the seventh and eighth-grade category.

The purpose of the contest was to foster awareness of drug and alcohol abuse among Colorado’s youth and to join the national crusade against such abuse. The contest was open to first through eighth-grade youth in public, parochial, and private or home study schools. Students in grades one through four completed packets of coloring sheets, and students in grades five through eight made original posters with the “Just Say No” theme.

There were thirty entries from Gilpin County School, including 22 coloring packets and eight posters. Younger students had a set of four sheets, which were furnished by the local VFW Post. They were judged on completeness, neatness, use of colors, sincerity, and grade-level competency. Older students creating posters were judged on thematic content, creativity, and composition. Members of the Central City-Black Hawk VFW Post judged the entries.

Gilpin students began working on their entries in January, in order to be judged in time for the local VFW to turn the local winning entries in to the State office by the February 4 deadline. State awards were to have been presented at a Youth Awards Carnival on March 9 at VFW Post 4171 in Golden; however, the carnival was postponed due to inclement weather and has not been rescheduled as of press time. Places will be announced during this carnival.

Mike Ikeler, commander of the Central City-Black Hawk Post, said that every student gets a money award, whether they win or not. Even those who simply participate receive ten dollars. Ikeler said that for each of the past three years, winners from Gilpin have gone on to the State level. “Su Henry does a fantastic job,” he said of the teacher that the VFW works with on the contest.

Su Henry noted, “I love that the students, especially the elementary students, have decided it’s a good contest to be in. Older students understand the message of “Just Say No” already. It’s helping the younger kids get the message before they even understand it. I hope it makes a difference in their lives.” She said the younger students will do the contest again, because they win money. The older students will do it because someone they know may drink or take drugs.

Winners and their awards were as follows:

Grades 1-2: 1st place, $20 – Hannah Donaldson; 2nd place, $15 – Ellis Lopez; 3rd place (tie), $10 – Chrislyn Martinez and Zach Gebhart.

Grades 3-4: 1st place, $30 – Morgaine Fuller; 2nd place, $25 – Jasmine Arends (also won at State level); third place, $20 – Alex Rodriguez-Jiminez.

Grades 5-6: 1st place, $35 – Devin Lee Shirk; 2nd place, $30 – Michael Wenholz; third place, $25 – Issac Chavez.

Grades 7-8: 1st place, $50 – Lauryn Parkhurst; 2nd place, $45 – Katy Marr (also won at State level).

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