Environmental Poster Contest Review

By Kendra Levendusky, Staff Writer

In attempts to promote environmental awareness, students were assigned the task of making posters on a topic they chose. The idea of this assignment was to inform the students and staff of Wayne Hills on these environmental issues and their impact.

Science teacher and coordinator of Environmental Awareness Week Anthony Defina began this poster contest twenty-one years ago in 1998 when he first began teaching at WHHS. His main goal in this project is to make those that view these posters think about the actual issues.

“On the short term people become more aware but it doesn’t hit home. It’s good to know you put the message out, I’m planting the seed and hoping it grows,” says Defina.

The posters are assigned by science teachers as either part of a project or as an extra credit opportunity, the teachers that received the posters select the few that they believe are the best. Then the posters are displayed for about two weeks to be judged. On average there are 90-100 posters submitted into the contest and are voted on by the staff and faculty, as well as the AP art students for the last two years.

Defina claims it was a very hard decision this year choosing the best of the best because there was a spike in the creativity of the art. There was a particular increase in posters about ocean pollution which pleased Defina that the message of helping the planet is out.

Among the immense talent, winners had to be chosen. Sophomore Melis Tastan won first place with poster #46, Trisha Mehta winning second place for her second year in a row as a senior with poster #14, and in third place freshman Eunho Jung with poster #37. First place wins a fifty dollar prize, second place wins thirty dollars, and third place wins a twenty dollar prize.

The first place winner talks about her inspiration behind her artwork and why this issue was important for her to choose.

“I’m a big fan of anatomy and drawing skeletons and humans… I figured I’d draw an animal close to extinction because I don’t think people really understand how big extinction is until it happens, then people will notice,” Tastan said.

Tastan was very happy to hear that people liked her artwork and her idea as it took her a little bit of drawing over the span of a month to get the poster how she wanted it to look.

Winners’ posters are displayed outside of the science office for a year and posters of the first, second, and third place winners from previous years are used to decorate the lobby and the main office during Environmental Awareness month which coincides with the celebration of Earth Day.

With posters for environmental awareness raises the question: Why use paper for these projects instead of more eco-friendly alternatives?

Defina had no plan to change the formatting of the project but hopes that after his time at Wayne Hills someone will pick up where he left off and try out different ways and perhaps more environmentally conscious ways to get the same message across. He suggested in the future using digital to be put in a slideshow on the new TVs all around the school. His only concern is the slideshow will not be visible or “in your face” enough to have an impact that he feels the posters can evoke.