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NEW YORK, July 30, 2020 - The Christophers announces its three top prize winners, in addition to four honorable mentions, today in their 30th 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 all across the United States. As always, students employed a wide range of media in their submissions, from personalized photographs to remarkable digitally created comic strips and collages. Tony Rossi, The Christophers’ Director of Communications, and Sarah E. Holinski, The Christophers’ Youth Coordinator, observed, “The far-reaching impact generated by one person performing one small but heartfelt act of generosity was epitomized to especially great effect in this year’s contest.”

            The first prize is awarded to Imani Anaisce King, a senior at Southside Christian High School, located in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This personal photograph shows King leaning down to place a tender kiss on her grinning grandfather’s bald head. The caption of this picture reads: “You Can Make a Difference…Fighting the Fight Against Alzheimer’s with Love.”

            Imani shared the background of her poster in an essay entitled Warpaint. Her grandfather was a young boy in the Philippines during World War II. His Puerto Rican father, who was an American soldier, was off fighting for the Allies, while King’s grandfather and his family lived in constant fear of attacks from Japanese soldiers. It was the quick thinking and courage of his mother that protected him and his two younger sisters all those years ago, along with some much needed divine intervention, which King’s grandfather recalls in minute detail.

            In the present day, however, Imani’s grandfather suffers from Alzheimer’s and cannot remember whether or not he has eaten breakfast. “My peers seem to be ignorant…or shy away from educating themselves about the dramatic effects Alzheimer’s has,” Imani writes. “I choose to fight. For two years, I have been offering my artistic talents as a volunteer for a local hospice organization…After consulting with family…I take the essence of that person and pour the beauty of their story onto the canvas…This not only helps the people who are caring for them and visiting them to know who they are, but often sparks a memory for the patient that was otherwise lost.”

            “As a student in pursuit of an art education degree, my hope is to continue to volunteer as an advocate to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s,” Imani declares. “Grampa may soon forget his colorful tales of wars past, but I will never forget the legacy he left behind…This is my war, too…and fighting with my paint and paintbrush in hand to preserve memories is my warpaint.”

            Second prize winner Margaret Schroeder, a senior at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Washington, created a poster that is unique in that it is digitally created in comic strip format. The first panel presents a black background with a white speaking bubble that says, “I hate the dark.” Then, we see a match being struck as a candle lights itself. The last three panels depict the same candle hearing the sound of crying as a smaller, unlit candle sits off to the side, shadowed in darkness. The candle is then shown to give light to the smaller candle with its flame, ending with them both happily illuminated.                         

            What a simple but poignant portrayal of how the act of sharing your own light, whether it be through your individual talent and/or optimistic nature, can have a tremendous influence, even on the life of just one person. On a deeper level, this comic also affirms the message that by giving of yourself, the light inside you doesn’t diminish, but rather makes the world around you a sunnier, more positive place.    

            Holly McCollough, the third prize winner, and a senior at D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School in Denver, CO, recalls a summer mission trip she took to Mountain Village, Alaska, a couple of years ago, where giving of her time and talent made a difference to the children who lived there. Holly’s poster is a photograph that depicts several giggling children piling on top of one of her friends. Written above and below this image are the words: “Is Life Weighing You Down? You Can Still Make A Difference: Smile!”

            “This photo was taken after my friend tripped in the boggy tundra,” McCollough explains in a personal e-mail to The Christophers. “The kids all thought his blunder was hilarious and proceeded to all purposely fall on top of him…screaming with laughter. Despite the wriggling weight of so many children, he saw the joy this silly activity brought the kids by the brilliant smile of all their sweet faces, so he let them all pile on.”

            “I worked with a team of other high schoolers from my youth group to organize a Vacation Bible School for the village children,” Holly continued. “Upon our arrival, we learned that the town had very recently been devastated by a young woman’s suicide, so it became our mission to spread positivity and hope, especially to the kids…By sacrificing our own comfort and pride to love on these kids, we impacted the entire village by smiling and providing a source of joy and hope in the midst of the repercussions from a tragic death.”

            This year, we are more grateful than ever for every small act of kindness, conveyed in both word and deed by our winning poster entries. We offer our thanks 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.”

Honorable Mentions

1.     Valentina Costarelli-Senior-Quartz Hill High School in Quartz Hill, CA

2.     Jennifer Custis-Senior-James Madison High School in San Diego, CA

3.     Diana Jane-Junior-G.W. Carver Magnet High School in Houston, TX

4.     Brooke Mangum-Heritage Christian High School in Indianapolis, IN

 1st Prize-Imani King-Southside Christian School in Simpsonville, SC
First Place
FirstPlace2020Imani King-Poster.jpeg
 2nd Prize-Margaret Schroeder-Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, WA
Second Place
Margaret Schroeder-Poster-2nd Prize.png
 3rd Prize-Holly McCullough-D'Evelyn Jr/Sr High School in Denver, CO
Third Place
Holly McCollough-Third Prize.jpg
Valentina Costarelli-Poster.jpg
Brooke Mangum-Heritage Christian High School in Indianapolis, IN
Diana Jane-Junior-G.W. Carver Magnet High School in Houston, TX
Jennifer Custis-Senior-James Madison High School in San Diego, CA
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