Students honored for spreading message of kindness to animals
Promoting responsible pet care while spreading kindness and respect toward animals, the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment Animal Management Division held an awards ceremony for its 23rd annual “Be Kind to Animals” poster contest at the Animal Services Facility in Upper Marlboro.
Department officials who spoke and presented awards at the ceremony included Deputy Director Joseph Gill, Animal Management Division Associate Director Chief Rodney Taylor and Joanne Brown, a volunteer coordinator and humane educator.
“The theme is to be kind to animals so we’re not looking for art but we’re looking for the message,” Taylor said as he stood before a group of parents and children. “I think when you change a generation, you start with the youth and I think we can change the world with how we take care of animals. I believe the way we care for animals shows how we will take care of the community and the people in our community.”
This year, about 22 students were presented with goodie bags and gift cards during the annual ceremony which honors elementary students, in private or public school, for their creative poster designs. There were seven first-, second- and third-place winners who received $75, $50 and $25 gift cards, respectively.
Trinity Williams, a fourth grader who attends St. Mary’s School of Piscataway in Clinton, won the grand prize — worth $100 — out of 2,200 other students who entered the contest.
“Ever since she’s been little, she’s always loved animals,” said
Leslie Gardner of Waldorf, Williams’ mother. “She’s always had a soft spot for animals and she keeps saying she wants to be a vet so we’re just encouraging her to fulfill her dream. We’re just so proud of her.”
Williams’ aunt, Sarah Gardner, said her niece worked very hard on the poster and that it’s good to see that her hard work paid off.
“That’s what we try to instill in her, that she has to work hard,” said Williams’ grandmother, Veronica Louise. “We’re very proud of her. It’s like winning the lottery because we were so surprised.”
St. Mary’s School, rooted in Christ, supports the development of students, their families and the community. St. Mary’s instills a Christ-centered education in its students by recognizing the worth and dignity of each individual as a child of God, according to the school’s website.
“I think it’s awesome. I’m so proud of Trinity,” said Natalie Cook, Williams’ fourth grade teacher. “I teach not only about animals but just all of God’s creations and to take care of them.”
Although she didn’t think she would win because her poster was not the biggest, Williams said she is happy to love and support all animals, both big and small.
“Animals are God’s creatures. Even though animals are big and can be mean, they all matter to me,” she said.
First place winners were Michael Amao of Vansville Elementary, Madison Evans of Kenilworth Elementary, Janiyah Lee of Panorama Elementary, Vishant Bhagat of Whitehall Elementary, Omorose Emwanta of Mount Calvary Catholic School and Excellence Christian School students Noah Smith and Sophia Montgomery.
Second place winners were Ali Majid of Al-Huda School, David Priester of Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary, Carlos Lee of Excellence Christian School, Gabriela Chicas Romero of Lewisdale Elementary, Ryan Samuel from St. Mary’s of Piscataway School and St. Pius X Regional School students Joseph Harrision IV and Casey McGee.
Third place winners were New Chapel Christian Academy student Erin Thweatt, St. John the Evangelist student Stephanie Garcia, John Bayne Elementary student King Lockley, Brandywine Elementary student Myris C. Rochez, St. Pius X Regional School student Madelyn Cipolla and Vansville Elementary students Ariela Okonta and Gabriella Patrick.
St. Mary’s School of Piscataway fourth grade student Trinity Williams is congratulated by her teacher, Natalie Cook, after Williams took home the grand prize for the 23rd annual “Be Kind to Animals” poster contest during an awards ceremony on May 12 at the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment Animal Services Facility in Upper Marlboro. Williams’ poster was chosen for the $100 grand prize out of about 2,200 entries. From left of Williams is Deputy Director Joseph Gill and Animal Management Division Associate Director Chief Rodney Taylor.