Bridgeton Initiative: “Love Yourself, See Yourself, Be Yourself” Poster Contest
The “Love Yourself, See Yourself, Be Yourself” Poster Contest was a Bridgeton Breakout Group initiative from its conception in November of 2015 until the Award Ceremony held on March 22nd, 2016. Originally imagined as an anti-bullying PSA contest, the initiative shifted to a poster contest highlighting the importance of self-esteem due to the abundance of information regarding anti-bullying provided through Bridgeton Public Schools. The goal of the contest was to help Bridgeton youth discover their positive attributes as a tie-in to larger anti-bullying and suicide prevention goals.
Because youth of all ages are vulnerable to depression, suicide, and bullying, the contest was open to all Bridgeton students grades K-12. To accommodate the needs of different age levels, the contest was broken into 3 topics as follows:
- Grades K-4: “Why am I special?”
- Grades 5-8: “What do I do best?”
- Grades 9-12: “What is my purpose?”
Members collaborated to create the criteria and protocols for the contest. Submitted posters were to have the name, grade, and school of the participant on the back (so that there would be no voting bias) and were not to include references to gang affiliation, fighting, drugs, sex, or other inappropriate content. Students in the K-4 age category were to use an 8 x 11 inch poster board, students in grades 5-8 were to use an 11 x 17 inch poster board, and students in grades 9-12 were to use a 22 x 28 inch poster board. The difference in size was intended to accommodate the different age groups’ levels of drawing ability and need for space in their designs. Flyers advertising the contest and displaying the criteria were created and distributed through the schools; students were to submit their posters to their school’s Community and Parental Involvement Specialists or to the Greater Bridgeton Family Success Center, where the judging was to occur.
Members identified funding for and purchased 7” tablets costing $39.99 each on Amazon to use as the first place prizes for the contest, $25 Toys R’ Us gift cards to be used as second-place prizes, and art kits to be used as third-place prizes. Three schools, Buckshutem Road School, West Avenue School, and Broad Street School, submitted over 100 posters to the contest. Since no high schools submitted posters, the Ceremony was only attended by students in grades K-8 and their families and there were 6 winners in total: a first place, second place, and third place winner in both age categories.
Posters were displayed at the Greater Bridgeton Family Success Center for judging from Monday, March 14th to Saturday, March 19th at 1:00 pm. Visitors to the Center were offered ballots to cast a vote for their favorite poster in each age category. The tally of the votes was taken and communicated to the winners at the start of the school week.
The Poster Contest Award Ceremony was held on March 22nd from 6:00 pm -7:15 pm at the Everett P. Marino Center. Mayor Kelly opened the Ceremony. A pasta dinner was served by notable Bridgeton community and Breakout Group members from 6:15 pm-6:30 pm. At 6:30 pm, Karen Horwitz, Principal, Bridgeton Public Schools District, spoke about the artistic element of the Contest, as she was formerly an art teacher for Bridgeton Public Schools. Chloé Williams, Community and Parental Involvement Specialist, Bridgeton Public School District, then presented on the topic of self-love. At 7:00 pm, the winners were presented with prizes. Caitlin Boehmcke, Project Assistant, Walter Rand Institute, attended the event and drafter a Press Release including photos taken at the event. To prepare for photos of students to be taken at the event and possibly used in a press release, a sign-in sheet with a photo-release was created and used and the Superintendent was notified that student photographs would be used in the press release.