The city-wide poster contest is optional for elementary students, but with prizes at stake at every grade level, many kids participate. This year’s theme: Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!
The fire department designates one evening where students can come to the station with their families, learn about fire safety, eat snacks, turn in their completed posters, and see the fire trucks up close. We missed it.
The day before the contest deadline, Henry sat down at the kitchen table, picked up a crayon, and created his artwork on the paper bag. (He doesn’t use a pencil first to sketch his ideas. He has only one paper bag. I can’t draw very well, so this makes me nervous.) He turned in his masterpiece at the elementary school office the next day.
Then he waited.
Yesterday Henry sat down with me to discuss the poster contest.
How did you learn about the poster contest?
There’s an assembly at our school. Three different firefighters come and talk about fire safety and how to make your poster.
How long did it take for you to create your poster?
Probably 20-30 minutes.
Were you ever frustrated while doing your work? If so, why?
Yes. I accidentally messed up the dog’s eye.
Did anyone encourage you to keep going?
Mom. She said that you’re not going to give up.
Have you entered the contest in prior years?
Yes, since kindergarten.
Have you ever won a prize?
Yes, twice. In kindergarten I got third place, and in third grade, I got first place.
What happened this year?
I got third again (for the second time), and I won a $20 gift card to Wal-Mart.
The firefighters came to our classroom with my poster and asked if the poster belonged to anyone in the class.
How did you feel?
Do you know who won first prize and second prize?
No. They must be in fifth grade at a different school.
Tell me about your poster.
Sparky, the Dalmatian, is getting ready to go to bed. His dad is talking to Sparky about how it’s really safe to have a smoke detector in the room. When you’re sleeping and if there’s a fire, you can hear the beep when you sleep.
What words are in the speech bubbles on your poster?
It’s a good thing we have a fire alarm in here. It is really safe, too. Hear the BEEP! Where you sleep. Woof!
What does it say on the dog’s t-shirt?
I heart bacon.
Do you like bacon?
Yes, and I wish we had it more often.
It’s not all about the drawing; it’s about the message. The message makes it important so that people know what the poster’s about.
You said a student on your bus thought you had help drawing the poster. She didn’t think you did it by yourself. Do you have any comment?
If any of my parents helped me, it would look a lot worse. That’s not my opinion. It’s the plain truth.
How do you think you will use your art skills when you’re an adult?
I might use it for my job.
Anything else you want to add?
Can I take a picture of you?
No, you can’t take a picture of me.
Will you enter again next year when you’re in sixth grade?
Thanks, Henry. It’s been nice talking to you. Congratulations!