Three Theodore Roosevelt students were honored at a Weehawken Commissioners meeting Dec. 9 for winning a poster contest designed to teach kids the benefits of saying “No” to drugs. The Municipal Alliance Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Weehawken announced the contest as part of a statewide initiative to send the anti-drug message across.
“It’s an example of a total community effort between the Elks, the school system, and the township,” said Mayor Richard Turner.
Approximately 325 posters were submitted for the contest.
Approximately 325 poster submissions from Roosevelt School were submitted to the alliance. Of the 325, judges chose 33 as finalists and posted them as part of an exhibition at the Weehawken Day Festival a few months ago.
“We’re one of the sponsors for Weehawken Day,” said Lisa Rovito, coordinator for the Municipal Alliance Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse. “We do the contest. The posters are displayed, and residents voted for their favorite.”
Rovito estimated that almost 900 attendees at the festival voted for the winners, and that it took almost an entire weekend to tally those votes.
The winners were all fifth graders from the Theodore Roosevelt School.
The third runner-up was Natalia Ordonez, who drew a character picture of a person with hair that looked as if it was shocked by electrocution. The poster read: “There’s no hope in dope!”
“They felt good and proud of me,” said Natalia of how her parents felt for her when she won.
Second runner-up Grace Denfeld described in her poster a war on drugs. At the bottom of her poster it read “You won’t win.” The poster included a picture of a drug-type substance lighting up a canon and aiming against a person with their arms up. “The cigarette is firing a canon at the smoke,” said Grace.
First runner-up was Max McGinley, who drew and colored a poster that said “drugs will blow you to bits” and depicted a round, black bomb near a person’s foot.
He won $25. “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll save it,” said Max when asked what he will do with his winnings.
The first place winner was Giselle Bojorquez, who drew a Monopoly game board and in the middle wrote “Your life isn’t a game…choose wisely!!!” She won $75 dollars.
“I was just playing a game with my mom and we got the idea,” said Giselle of her inspiration for the drawing.
“They were all great,” added Rovito.
As a reward, the children received proclamations by Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and a check for between $25 and $75.
“I think it’s important to instill in our kids the awareness of drug and alcohol abuse,” said Rovito. “At Webster, we start with the youngest and we start with their self-esteem so they don’t fall into peer pressure.”
Rovito added that the program is making a difference around town. She said that she believes that in Weehawken there is less of a problem of youngsters engaging in drug or alcohol abuse when compared to other towns. “Teaching them early has an impact on them,” said Rovito.
Melissa Rappaport may be reached at email@example.com