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Falling just short last year, Taylor Stith was determined to win first place in the 2008 Adopt-A-Highway poster contest.
That determination paid off when the junior at Williamstown High School was selected the winner of the 15 to 17-year-old age group.
Stith placed second in the same category in 2008.
“I was really surprised,” she said. “I looked at everybody’s work who was in the class and they were 10 times better than they were last year. I was thinking the whole time that I wasn’t going to place. I was really excited.”
Nearly 2,000 students entered the annual contest sponsored by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The contest is designed to create environmental awareness in children.
The first-place winner in each of four age group categories received a $100 savings bond along with a framed print of the winning poster.
The second- and third-place winners each received a $50 savings bond and framed prints of their posters.
Awards were presented during a luncheon ceremony Dec. 2, at the Executive Mansion in Frankfort.
Stith, whose sister Jaclyn also was honored twice in the contest, was joined this year by three fellow Williamstown students.
Junior Steven Faulkner earned second place in the 15 to 17-year-old age group.
“I was happy to place second,” he said. “It was a real honor to go to the governor’s mansion. I enjoyed the luncheon there.”
Sophomore Alec Dalton placed second in the 12 to 14-year-old age group.
“It was kind of a shock to me,” he said. “I worked really hard on it and it was very exciting to win second place.”
Sixth grader Hanson Zhou was second place in the 9 to 11-year-old category.
“Wow,” said Zhou about his reaction to placing in the contest.
Stith was also joined in 2008 by fellow Williamstown students Donna Williams (third place), Jeffrey Kinman (third place) and Brennan Stanley (honorable mention).
Calendars featuring the winners’ posters will be provided to all the winners and their classrooms.
This year’s contest judges included Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Acting Secretary Joe Meyer, Georgetown College professor Rachel Brewer, Kentucky State University professor Reba Rye, Transportation Public Affairs Executive Director Chuck Wolfe and Miranda Thacker, statewide coordinator.
Judges did not know the identities of the artists or their schools.
“With so many excellent posters this year and a tremendous amount of entries submitted, it was really hard to judge,” said Meyer. “We appreciate all the hard work and effort the students put into their posters. Every entry is a winner.”
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will begin accepting entries March 1 for the 2010 poster contest.
The entries will close Sept. 30, 2010.