BROOKSVILLE — Swamp Fest committee member Audrey Holley annually invites adults and children to submit drawings for the T-shirts they produce for the yearly event.
Swamp Fest happens during one weekend each March at Linda Pederson Park in Weeki Wachee and features arts and crafts with plenty of food.
This year's winning T-shirt design was submitted by an adult, Deborah Nicholson, but Holley's committee wanted to recognize the students who participated.
Most were from West Hernando Middle School, guided by fine arts teacher Deborah Kelly and graphic arts teacher Megan Woods. One entrant was from Gulf Coast Academy.
Holley and Swamp Fest president Roger Davidson recently visited West Hernando to present awards and ribbons to the students who produced outstanding designs.
Seventh-grader Megan Roche, 13, won an honorable mention and received a $10 Wal-Mart gift card.
The third place $15 gift card went to eighth-grader Nick Sanders, 13.
Eighth-grader Samantha Costa-White won the second-place $20 gift card. And the top prize, a $30 gift card, went to eighth-grader Thomas Nardone, 13.
Thomas said he has only begun drawing recently, but doodles a lot. He has art talent in his family. "My dad can draw pretty well," he said, "and my uncle can draw pretty well, too. It's really fun to do."
He said all of the students had to do a drawing for a grade, but it was optional to enter the contest. Thomas said he was "very surprised" to win and will likely enter other art contests.
Kelly appreciated her students' efforts. "It's a real learning project," she said. "They really worked hard and did a great job and I'm really proud of them."
Paulette Lash Ritchie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.