Three Westhaven Elementary School students are only in fifth-grade, but their artwork is being distributed across the St. Louis area.
Drawings they submitted to a contest more than a month ago became the inspiration for a new logo for the St. Louis-based organization CharacterPlus, which helps with character development in schools.
When they heard the news Tuesday, they said they had almost forgotten about the contest.
“It was just so long ago,” said Victoria Adewole, 10, who is one of the winners.
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Back in December, the contest was open to all the organization’s members: school districts in Missouri and Illinois, including Belleville District 118. Julie Knost, CharacterPlus school consultant, said the organization was looking for “what our vision means to kids.”
Victoria’s drawing features two hands that are reaching out to each other.
“In my picture, there’s one hand that’s a different skin color. For me, it means people all over the world being friends, having fun and all of the problems of the world being completely gone,” she said.
Another winner, Sophia McNabb, 11, took inspiration from the character development that District 118 promotes — themes like respect, perseverance and empathy.
“...I drew the seven continents and wrote a character word in each one of them,” Sophia said.
Morgan Gillham, 11, says she wanted to represent “people all over the world together as one family.”
“I thought it would be really cool to do a globe,” Morgan said.
A combination of the three drawings — two hands outstretched in front of the world — is being used at characterplus.org. Their individual artwork will also appear on fliers that CharacterPlus sends out in the future.
We’re so proud of you guys. You’re so talented.
Matt Klosterman, Belleville District 118 superintendent
The organization only planned to choose one student’s submission to be the inspiration for its redesign, but Knost said all three of the drawings from the girls “totally represented what we believe at CharacterPlus.”
Knost visited Westhaven on Tuesday to surprise Morgan, Sophia and Victoria with the news. Superintendent Matt Klosterman was also there to congratulate them.
“We’re so proud of you guys,” Klosterman said. “You’re so talented.”
Sophia said she was feeling happy but a little embarrassed by the attention.
“I didn’t even know we were doing this until this morning,” she said on Tuesday.
The contest winners each said they love art and enjoy the class at school.
“Every Monday, I just look forward to going to art,” Victoria said. “It’s just like, ‘Yay, after reading, we get to go to art.’”
Morgan says she might even like to become an artist someday; She’s inspired by her aunt.
“She lives in New York and that’s where I get my inspiration from,” Morgan said.
Victoria, on the other hand, is still deciding on her future career.
“I was thinking maybe I’d write a couple books, and being an artist would actually help that a lot,” she said.