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"You can make a difference"



NEW YORK, May 10th, 2024 - The Christophers announce the three top prize winners, in addition to ten honorable mentions, today in their 34th Annual Poster Contest for High School Students.      

            Every year, students – grades 9 through 12 – are invited to create a poster that visually interprets the timeless theme, “You Can Make a Difference.” This year’s contest drew close to 500 entries from high schools across the United States. As always, students employed a wide range of media in their submissions, from personalized photograph collages to stunningly detailed watercolor paintings. Tony Rossi, The Christophers’ Director of Communications, and Sarah E. Holinski, The Christophers’ Youth Coordinator, noted, “Our winning poster entries this year, both digital and hand-created, continue to highlight some truly exceptional individuals who go above and beyond to make a difference. Above all, this year’s winners demonstrate the importance of putting words into action when it comes to making a profound impact in your communities. Whether bringing joy to the elderly residents at a nearby hospice, raising thousands of dollars to sponsor a service dog for a veteran suffering from PTSD, or even something as simple as beautifying a garden, these philanthropic young people truly epitomize, through their vivid artistic renderings, just what it means to make a difference.”

            First prize-winner, high school senior Mattelyn Hall, has quite literally reaped the fruits of her physical labor firsthand, in the form of a “thriving garden” she helped establish at her high school, located in Groesbeck, TX. An active member of her school’s greenhouse club for over a year, Mattelyn, utilizing watercolor paints, recreated an outdoor scene which showcased the bounty of last year’s harvest, as originally captured in a snapshot taken by one of her classmates. In this painting, Hall, her AG (agriculture) teacher, and fellow club members dutifully tend the neat rows of plentiful green crops. The brown outline of Groesbeck High School is seen from a distance against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. Across the top of the poster, written in white, are the words, “You Can Make a Difference.” The statement continues along the bottom of the portrait with the additional reminder to “Give Back to the Earth.”

            “In this picture, my AG teacher, peers, and I were digging up potatoes,” Mattelyn recalled, as quoted in a personal email to The Christophers. “…We dug up around 100 potatoes that day and donated them to school staff…This year, we expect an even greater success.”

            “I believe that growing one’s own food, understanding the hard work that goes into farming, and learning about agriculture is incredibly important,” Hall noted in conclusion. “As someone who did not grow up in a family of people working directly in agriculture, I have learned and benefited tremendously from AG classes and this club… So…I guess…the poster has two main messages: give back to the earth, and the importance of agricultural education.”

            Education is not only limited to honing your academic or horticultural skills. The attributes of acceptance and kindness towards others are just as essential to impart to young people at an early age. Sometimes, even the smallest of gestures, like the heartfelt squeeze of a hug, can make all the difference to someone who truly needs it. This universal truth is demonstrated to great effect in our second-prize winning poster, also a hand-painted depiction, submitted by Chelsea Parada, a senior at Mount Paran Christian High School in Kennesaw, GA. In this painting, two uniformed high school girls, one black and the other white, share a warm embrace. The Caucasian girl’s face is not visible, but the other young woman’s face, although her eyes are closed, is lit up in a radiant smile. Against a bright background striped in various shades of blue, printed across the top of the poster in red, is the encouraging message, “You Can Make a Difference.”

            Within the collage of photographs featured in the third prize winning digital poster by high school junior Ava Ferrara, more than one hug is captured amongst these pictures. These images show both younger and older girls dancing and posing together in joyful camaraderie. Typed across the top of the poster in differing hues of pink, coordinating with the vibrant color of the dancers’ T-shirts, as well as the stars scattered across the white background, are the words, “Volunteer…Love…Connect.” Along the bottom of Ferrara’s digital creation is the caption, “You Can Make a Difference.”   In a note she wrote to The Christophers, Ava, who currently attends Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, TX, also spoke at length about the mentorship aspect of the “Royal Ridge” dance clinic, of which she is a proud participant.

            “These photos were taken at our dance team dance clinic this year,” Ferrara said. “…Many of our current team members remember attending clinic when they were young, and meeting some amazing girls who really inspired them, leading them to dream of joining our team – and look at them now!”

             “At dance clinic, we're able to connect with children as young as five and inspire them to pursue dance!” Ava exclaimed. “We're so honored that our character can lead children on the path of becoming a Ridge Point Royal – a truly life-changing and worthwhile experience.”

            At The Christophers, we believe any positive experience in which you put yourself out there to help others—whether it’s volunteering, teaching, or even just reaching a hand out to those in need—has the potential to change one’s life, as well as the lives of those around you, for the better. We offer our most sincere appreciation to all the applicants who worked so hard on their artistic portrayals, and the teachers who inspire them every day to “make a difference.”  

            A non-profit organization founded in 1945, The Christophers uses mass media to encourage all individuals to make a positive difference in the world, as expressed in the Christopher motto: “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

1st place

1st Place - Mattelyn Hall-Groesbeck High School in Groesbeck, Texas

Mattelyn Hall-1st Place Winner.jpg

2nd Place - Chelsea Parada-Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw, GA

Chelsea Parada-2nd Place Winner.jpg

3rd Place -  Ava Ferrara, Ridge Point High School, Missouri City, Texas.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Michelle Alcantar-Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, TX

  2. Katie Fu-Woodbridge Academy Magnet School in Woodbridge, New Jersey

  3. Amanda L. Gonzalez-Chaminade Madonna College Preparatory in Hollywood Hills, FL

  4. Camila Hernandez-Gompers Preparatory Academy in San Diego, CA

  5. Alyson Jackson-Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, TX

  6. Corbyn Loftin-Ingram Tom Moore High School in Ingram, TX

  7. Marieth Briceno Ramos-Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, TX

  8. Katelyn Slaveski- Duncan U Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, FL

  9. Elizabeth Tillman-Fairbanks High School in Milford Center, OH

  10. Gabriel Varner-Ohio Connections Academy in Mason, OH

3rd place
2nd place
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