Keondez Robinson didn’t know anything about horseradish and wasn’t keen on entering a logo contest for the 30th annual International Horseradish Festival.
But Collinsville High School vocational teacher Vicki Fuhrhop insisted. She wanted all the students in her web and graphic design class to participate.
“We try to do as many what I call ‘real’ projects as we can throughout the year,” she said. “And this was a great opportunity. The horseradish festival is a big community event.”
Turns out Fuhrhop was right. Keondez, 18, who graduated Saturday, won the contest, earning $500 in scholarship money. He will be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony June 2.
Perhaps the best part will be seeing his design on T-shirts and other souvenirs. He even created a slightly edited version to appear on medals for the 5K run.
“I thought it looked good,” Keondez said last week after getting his first glimpse of the blown-up design on a poster. “I’m proud of it.”
The International Horseradish Festival will be held June 2-4 in Collinsville’s Woodland Park. It celebrates the city’s reputation as Horseradish Capital of the World due to the large amount of horseradish produced by area farmers.
Keondez is the son of Laquetta Harper of Collinsville and Kendal Robinson of Orlando, Florida. He has three brothers, Tony Allen and Jarmon and Demitrius Robinson.
Also this school year, Keondez won a national Young Scholars award for one of his short stories and designed the Collinsville High yearbook front and back covers with fellow student Nolan Hamilton.
“He’s had a lot of accomplishments this year,” said Harper, 37, of Collinsville. “But he doesn’t talk big about it like me. He said it’s just the beginning of what he’s going to do.”
All the students in Fuhrhop’s class had to do research to learn more about horseradish before creating their logos with Photoshop.
Keondez started with a map of Illinois, figuring Collinsville’s claim to fame has brought notoriety to the whole state. Then he turned the southern tip into a brown horseradish root with a leafy green top.
“Whenever I design, I like to listen to (instrumental) music,” he said. “I’m in my own little world. I can think better and focus on the task in front of me.”
Horseradish festival committee members decided to hold a logo contest this year because it’s the 30th anniversary and they wanted to get young people involved.
Twelve students from the high school and junior high submitted entries. They were all lined up for judging at a committee meeting.
“(Keondez’s logo) stood out to us,” said member Chanelle Smith, who also is Collinsville Chamber of Commerce marketing coordinator. “I don’t think there was one person who didn’t love it. Everybody gravitated toward it.”
Keondez plans to attend University of Central Florida as part of the Army ROTC program and hopes to be involved in cyber security during his required four-year ROTC service.
“I’m going to major in computer science, and once I graduate, I want to program and design video games,” he said.
Banners with the horseradish festival logo went up around Collinsville earlier this month. One student brought a cellphone photo into the web and graphic design class to show Keondez.
“I’m sure (the other students) were disappointed that they didn’t win,” Fuhrhop said, “but they’re happy for him.”
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