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NY Mills students bring "Vision of Peace" to life

NY Mills students participate in this year's Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest. L to R: Kaitlyn Kane, Rhiana Roberts, Brandy Hensch, Emily Ericksrud and Kody Knickrehm. Photo by Christopher Michalski.1 / 2
"Vision of Peace" contest winner Kaitlyn Kane proudly displays her work after claiming first place. Photo by Christopher Michalski.2 / 2

Fifth grade students at New York Mills elementary school participated in an annual Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest, portraying this year's theme "Vision of Peace" through their artwork.

Students were limited to their vision of peace via artistic imagery, and a multitude of languages from across the globe will be on display at the international level.

Lions Club International encourages more than 350,000 young people worldwide to artistically express their visions of peace.

Students compete in a Lion's district level contest then move to the international level. Last summer's convention was held in Sydney, Australia.

Dennis Anderson, former president of Lions Club District 5M-9, gave the district winners with their awards on Nov. 10.

"I'm delighted kids have interest in the International Peace Poster Contest," Anderson said. "It's always a lot of fun to see the excitement. I'm thankful they participate every year."

Kaitlyn Kane claimed the first place cash prize of $50, followed by Rhiana Roberts in second for $40 and Brandy Hensch in third place for $30. Emily Ericksrud and Kody Knickrehm were awarded with honorable mentions and given $20.

Yet, the smiles on their faces when they held their posters up were priceless.

The NY Mills Lions Club extended special thanks to all of the fifth graders who participated.

Kane said that her idea for the poster just came to her. "World peace is important," she said. "I'm really happy for my other classmates."

Roberts said she was a little nervous but felt good about her drawing and was confident.

"World peace is about respect and treating everyone the same," she said.

Hensch said that she didn't think she'd win at first. "I was just going with the flow," she said. "World peace means no wars."

Ericksrud said that she was shocked that she had won.

"World peace means freedom," she said.

Dean of Students Travis Hensch said he is proud of the students.

"They put great time and effort into the poster contest," he said.

All of the fifth grade classes cheered a loud thank you to Anderson.


After winning first place at the elementary school, Kaitlyn Kane will participate in the 5M-9 Mid-Winter Convention in January in Breezy Point, Minn.

The first place winner of that contest will move on to the multi-district level at the 92nd MD5M Convention in Mankato, Minn.

The winner of the multi-district level will proceed to the international contest held in Seattle in July 2011.

According to Lions Club International, 24 international finalists are selected each year. Posters are shared globally via the Internet, the media and exhibits around the world.

"Kaitlyn was very excited," Anderson said. "She has a natural artistic gift."

He also thanked Pam Robinson who has judged the Peace Poster Contest for the past several years.

Robinson is a former art teacher from Sebeka and has served on the board of directors for the NY Mills Regional Cultural Center.


One international grand prize winner will receive a trip to a special award ceremony with their sponsoring club president and two family members at Lions Day with the United Nations.

During the ceremony, the winning artist will receive an engraved plaque and a cash prize of $5,000. The 23 merit award winners will receive a cash award of $500 and a certificate of achievement.

Peace Poster Contest grand prize winners have come from Brazil, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, South Africa and the United States, to name a few.

For more information on the contest or the Lions Club, visit