BROOKSVILLE — The Winter 2010 Art Reception at Brooksville City Hall on Feb. 18 featured many Hernando County students who had entered one or more of three contests. The artists were introduced at the reception and their works are currently on display.
The three contests were the Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition's Doris J. Bedell Chill Smart Art Contest, Central High School's Black History Month poster contest and the Dawn Center's art contest.
There were four winners of the antidrug contest, and those drawings will be replicated on billboards throughout the county.
West Hernando Middle School seventh-grader Devin Kelly, 12, whose poster said, "Do what you love, but don't do drugs;"
West Hernando Middle School eighth-grader Taylor Shreiber, 14, who declared "Smoking is not for me, I have better things to do" on her poster;
Challenger K8 eighth-grader Nicole Jacquot, 13, whose poster was half bright and half dark, ontrasting a happy drug-free world with a dark world where young people drink;
Challenger K8 seventh-grader Amorette Ratliff, 13, who had "Chill Smart, Don't Start, No Drinking/No Smoking" on her submission.
The winner of the Central high School Black History Month poster winner was senior Erika Sherman, 18.
The Dawn Center contest, which focused on discouraging domestic abuse, produced three winners: Hernando High School senior Jessie Leasure, 17, first place; Challenger K8 eighth-grader Maya Rivero, second place; and Challenger K8 eighth-grader Nicole Jacquor, 13, third place.
"I think it's very important to stop violence before it starts," said Jessie about her first place-winning art.
"I feel that violence on women and children in the world right now is greater than ever," said Maya Rivero. Her poster showed a tree on a piece of earth separated from the ground and surrounded by light.
She explained, "I thought of how the world is breaking apart and only some of it is left pure. I drew a tree to represent the small part of the world that is still untouched by violence."
Lisa Hammond is the antidrug coalition program director. She explained why the group has sponsored the contest for the past five years. "Kids need to drive the message. They put their message creatively." The contest allows them to be members of the community, part of the solution, she said.
"There are a lot of good kids out there and we're all about keeping good kids good," she said.
West Hernando Middle School seventh-grader Erin Parrinello, 12, entered the contest to help get the antidrug message out, she said. "I felt that too many people are using drugs and smoking and too many people are dying."
West Hernando Middle School seventh-grader Hanora Cassels, 12, said, "We need to spread awareness about drugs, because people can ruin their lives. People can get up with drugs and not consider the consequences."
There were 25 antidrug coalition students, besides the four billboard winners, who had their works on display at the gallery and received T-shirts imprinted with the winners' illustrations.
West Hernando Middle School: Mercedes Holland, Chris Hudson, Hanora Cassels, Ashley Sheridan, Jennifer Gordon, Samantha Evans, Matthew Michalski, Michael Sherman, Jennifer Willis, Megan Foglio, Emily Ashkenase, Erin Parrinello and Ashley Harris.
Challenger K8 School of Science and Mathematics: Kaitlyn Gulbrandson, Paola Perez, Paige Robertson, Maria Passafaro, Dianna Cafra, Shelby Basco, Kaitlyn Howie, Joshua Stellpflug, Rebecca Glidden, Joe Lacy, Ally Coniglio, Sydney Taylor, Timothy Hernandez and Haley Jensen.