Connor Ashbridge, a grade six student at Rocky Mountain Elementary School has taken the first step to becoming an internationally recognized artist by winning a local contest sponsored by the Elkford Lions Club.
The Lions Club Peace Poster Contest is a contest for youth ages 11 – 13 that encourages sharing the message and meaning of peace. For twenty five years, more than four million children in one hundred different countries have participated in the contest. This year, for the first ever in the area, youth in Elkford had the chance to join in the contest as well. Instrumental in bringing the program to the area, Lion’s Club Member Ellie Grieser has a personal passion for the program and made it her mission to share the message. “I learned of the Peace Poster Contest at a Lions District Conference, and when I seen one of the winning posters, it really touched my heart. I fell in love with the contest and the meaning behind it, and knew it was time for it to come to this area,” she said.
The initial group of students to take part in the program were 32 grade six students at Rocky Mountain Elementary School. Each poster was judged by three judges, Howard Tomich Elkford Lions Club President, Shirley McGale Rocky Mountain Elementary School Principal and Brenda Perry Elkford Secondary School Art Teacher. Connor’s poster, self titled poster ‘Winds of Peace” was chosen for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the contest theme ‘Imagine Peace.’
As the students were honoured for their participation during a pizza party sponsored by the Lions Club, Grieser expressed to the students her pride for all the talent and ability they had shown through their art work. “It is obvious that these young people have strong ideas about what peace means to them. I am so proud that we were able to give them the opportunity to share their visions,” she said.
During the pizza party Connor was announced the winner and presented with a $100 cheque. His poster will now advance through district, multiple district and international rounds of competition if he is to be declared the international grand prize winner.
One grand prize winner and 23 merit winners will be selected The grand prize includes a cash award of $5000, plus a trip for the winner, two family members and the Lions Club President of designate to the awards ceremony on Lions Day in the United Nations. “Our Club is really cheering for Connor as his poster advances in the competition. We hope that his vision will ultimately be shared with others around the world,” says Tomich.
As for Connor, he was very humble about his win. “I’m not sure what I will spend the $100 on, but I am thankful that they liked my poster,” he said.