Virginia fifth graders place in poster contest


RICHMOND Four Virginia students took top honors in the Commonwealths First Annual Missing Childrens Poster Contest sponsored by the Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Council for Private Education. First place winner, Miss Jordan Simon of Hebrew Academy of Tidewater in Virginia Beach, will go on to represent Virginia this month in the National Missing Childrens Day Poster Contest hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The contest was open to all 5th graders enrolled in public and private schools across Virginia. The intent of the program is to educate children about personal safety through the development of artwork incorporating a national, annual theme. This years theme was to represent Americas effort to Bring Our Missing Children Home. Each poster submission must also be accompanied by an essay describing the nature of the artwork. For more information on the poster contest go to
.  Miss Simons artwork features puzzle pieces that signify the children [that] are missing, and when they all return to the house the puzzle pieces will connect and they will be back home, as stated in her essay.

Also placing in the contest were Miss Laura Foretich of West Point Elementary School, Mr. Nicholas Rouse of Richmond County Elementary School and Miss Samantha Wolfe of Callaghan Elementary School in Covington.

Miss Simons artwork was selected as the winner from among several entries that were judged by a panel of volunteers March 18, 2008. Judges included Ms. Judy Newcomb, a national watercolor artist and owner of The Great Frame Up-Judy Newcomb Gallery; Ms. Misty Kiser, graphic design supervisor for the Virginia Department of Education; Ms. Jenny Liu, art director with the Martin Agency in Richmond; Mr. Andrew Davis, art teacher with Mary Munford Elementary School in Richmond; and Captain Thomas W. Turner, commander of the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

The first place winners submission will compete at the national level this month. The national winner will be recognized in Washington, D.C. at the National Missing Childrens Day ceremony on May 21, 2008. The winning national poster will also be used as next years pictorial theme for the 2009 National Missing Childrens Day.

We are very proud of Miss Simon and all of the contest participants and their outstanding efforts, said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. This contest is a great way to engage our youth to discuss and learn about personal safety. We hope to receive even more submissions next year from Virginias fifth graders as this is a most worthwhile opportunity and lesson for the classroom.