MUSCATINE, Iowa—For nearly 13 years, the Muscatine Lions Club has hosted their annual peace poster contest. Part of Lions International’s larger peace poster initiative, students ages 11 through 13 may submit original works of art expressing a vision of world peace. As Connie Fuller, a Muscatine Lions Club member and organizer of the peace poster contest explained, the contest provides a way, “to promote peace through the Lions Club.”
This year, the contest asked students to create posters that depicted a journey to peace. On Jan. 16 the Muscatine Lions Club announced its winners, district qualifier Olivia Braun, first place winner Olivia Fullerton, second place winner Sopheara Gonzales, and third place winner Chloe Paulsen.
At their regular meeting, the Muscatine Lions Club honored each artist for their accomplishments. All the winners had opportunities to share the inspirations for their posters.
Chloe, a sixth grader at Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School, explained that she had the idea of uniting different countries in mind when she created her poster. “When I thought of peace, I thought of countries in the world,” she said. “What inspired (me) was the dove, because it’s a peace symbol,” she added.
For Sopheara, a fifth grader at Franklin, people sharing a love of the planet led her to create her unique heart shaped earth design. She also considered faith a uniting force, adding angel wings and a halo to her drawing.
Olivia Fullerton, now in sixth grade at Jefferson Elementary, pointed out the symbolism in her poster, showing how different images in nature help people experience peace: “my inspiration was that people find peace in many different things . . . I wanted to include as many peace symbols as I could,” she elaborated.
Olivia Braun, whose poster went on to the district competition, did not have her poster with her as the district judges have not returned it to her yet. However, she looks forward to sharing it with her family and fifth grade class at Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School once it returns.
This year, Fuller felt elated that students from many schools across Muscatine participated. She looks forward to helping more local youth get involved with the peace poster contest and thanks Mary Alice Sessler, art teacher at Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School, for her assistance over the years in helping the peace poster contest grow and thrive. “Mary Alice has been a staple and she tells me when there are new teachers in the district, and they pick right up.”
Fuller looks forward to keeping the peace poster contest going for years to come. If you have an upper elementary or middle school age student interested in art, she encourages you to encourage them to enter so they can send more students on to the district level in the future.