Registration for the 4th Annual Art & Poetry Contest hosted by the Vernon Parish School Board (VPSB) and the local Military Student Transition Consultants (MSTCs) began on February 3rd.
The contest is open to any students in Vernon Parish, with additional recognition opportunities available to students with a military connection.
Sue Lopez, one of the MSTCs for VPSB, created the program to provide all students at Vernon Parish schools with an opportunity to have their creative works recognized and published, in addition to regular school publications.
The idea first came to her when her children began to apply to colleges and were commonly asked whether they had any published work.
Lopez wanted to develop a contest that allowed all students to submit work for local and district recognition, while also addressing the needs of military students to express themselves and receive recognition for their creative outputs.
In addition to school and district recognition, military students can have their work submitted at the national level with the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC).
All military-connected finalists in the contest will have their work submitted for consideration in 2020 – 2021 MCEC publications.
The contest encourages military-connected students to use the arts and written word as a means of communicating their experiences as a military child, with specific prompts being provided to address common experiences associated with the military lifestyle.
Discussing the benefits of the contest for students, Lopez shared “Creative outlets allow children to convey pride and celebrate their military-connected lives, while also acknowledging their grief and worry.”
This extends to even those students without a familial connection to the military, with Lopez stating “Being the one left behind is never easy either. Many local students who forge great relationships with military children, and then when the military child leaves it can be difficult for them to grieve the loss of that friendship.”
The contest is designed to coincide with Louisiana Believes state poetry curriculum requirements.
This provides an additional avenue for teachers to reinforce their lessons, while simultaneously allowing teachers, MSTCs, and Military Family Life Counselors (MFLC) embedded in the schools to further deepen their relationship and further understand the needs of their students through evaluating the expressions found in the students’ creative works. “It allows us to better triangulate our reach…to support all military students and those who are military-connected,” said Lopez.
Students interested in the contest may pick up a registration form from their school’s front office. The deadline for students to submit work to the Art & Poetry contest is March 3, 2020.
The 4th Annual Art & Poetry Award Ceremony will be held on April 2, 2020, at 5:30 PM at the Fort Polk Family Readiness Center.
Sue Lopez can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She serves Leesville High School, Leesville Jr. High School, Pickering High School, Pickering Middle School, Rosepine High School, Rosepine Middle School, Simpson High School, Hicks High School and Anacoco High School.