Jack Weddell of Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School took first place, with his colorful, creative poster with the message, "Your Vote, Your Voice. Don't be Silenced."
Weddell's work, a 12" x 18" acrylic painting on canvas, earned the top $500 prize and the honor of having his winning poster printed and distributed throughout Washtenaw County as the November 6 election approaches, including display in more than 100 AATA buses.
"I have a lot of faith in kids today," said Weddell's teacher, Helen Bunch. "They have a sense of fairness and equity. This was a powerful project."
Bunch was also the teacher of second-place winner Morgan Knox, who received $250 for her efforts. "As a democracy, we have all types of people," Knox said. "I wanted to put them in my poster to represent what America is."
The third-place poster ($100) was created by Saline High School student Anna LeChard, whose teacher was Adam Rodriguez.
Seven of the 104 students who submitted posters were awarded honorable mentions and a $50 prize. Their teachers were also recognized. Faith Wesorick, an honorable mention winner attending Dexter High School, said "I wanted to show how we can use voting to express our identity and values."
Honorable mentions were: Trenton Brann Huron High School Soyeon Kim Skylar Clouse Ypsilanti High School Lynne Settles Emma Dunn Dexter High School Krickett Luckhardt Sarah Odumodu Pioneer High School Helen Bunch Danielle Waidley Dexter High School Krickett Luckhardt Faith Wesorick Dexter High School Krickett Luckhardt Theodore Keeling Pioneer High School Helen Bunch
"The objective of the poster contest is to educate students about the value of voting and voter education as part of good citizenship," said League of Women Voters member and contest organizer Nan Elder. "We wanted to encourage students to use their creativity to persuade others to vote, and we are thrilled with the results. We received 104 entries from eight schools."
The League's poster contest team was Nancy Elder, Jim Schulz, Chris Samida, Linda Peck, Kathie Weinmann, and Frances Lyman. "My friends had no idea what they were getting into when they agreed to join the team," said Elder, "but neither did I! It took months of organizing and effort to make this happen, but the results were worth it."
Posters, which were required to be nonpartisan, were judged on the strength of the message, graphic impact, and power of persuasion. The League of Women Voters recruited independent judges from the area who judged the posters on their merits, without knowing who had submitted the poster or what school they attended.
"I appreciated the variety of work," said judge Carey Jernigan, "and seeing the perspective of different students about democracy."
Andrea Cardinal, Toledo, business owner, art lecturer at UofM Deborah Golden, Ann Arbor, artist and teacher Carey Jernigan, Ann Arbor, VP of marketing agency re:group Linette Lao, Ypsilanti, graphic designer, business owner, instructor at EMU Steve Rodriguez. Ann Abor, retired Pioneer High School coach
Judges' Biographies Steve Rodriguez, Ann Arbor, recently retired as a Pioneer High School PE teacher and coach after 41 years, is also a potter and gardener. Steve says, "When I started teaching, kids needed to know first and foremost that teachers and coaches respected them. I think the same is true today."
Andrea Cardinal, Toledo, owner of Tooth & Rag, LLC is a co-director of Talking Dolls Studio in Detroit. She is a lecturer at the Penny Stamps School of Art at the University of Michigan. Her specialties include graphic design, web design and exhibition design. She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, BFA from the University of Michigan.
Linette Lao, Ypsilanti, is a graphic designer/ web designer with her own business, Invisible Engines, where she works with agents of change-visionary nonprofits, academic institutions, neighborhood businesses and start-ups. She also teaches mixed media and zines in the Creative writing program at Eastern Michigan University.
Carey Jernigan, Ann Arbor, is a Vice President for re:group, an integrated marketing agency. Carey has produced award winning work for a wide range of clients, including Domino's Pizza, Window Works, American Speedy Printing, The Athletes Foot, The Coffee Beanery, Duskin Co., Ltd., Johnson Controls.
Deborah Jean Smith Golden, Ann Arbor, is an award-winning watercolorist. In addition to degrees from the University of Michigan in graphic design and political science and a Masters from Eastern Michigan University in watercolor and drawing. She has a Teaching Certificate in K- 12 visual art education. She has taught art at a variety of venues and to all ages.
L to R: Skylar Clouse, Trenton Brann, Faith Wesorick, Sarah Odumodu, Morgan Knox, Anna LeChard, Theodore Keeling