Forward Franklin honors poster contest winners

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  • Laura Hawkins presents to Lily Benacquista.

  • Participants in poster contest.

  • An award is given to Miguel Nunez.

  • Justus Chaparro-Hicks, 6, displays his winning poster with his family.

  • Participants in poster contest.

  • Dayna Alemy is a recipient of the first-place award in the 14-17 division.

  • Award was given to Jacinda DeSino, center.

  • Laura Hawkins presents to Lily Benacquista.

  • Students learn about pottery.

  • Two girls check out the artwork.

  • Ella Darvalics receives an award from her poster.

FRANKLIN — The Forward Franklin Alliance honored the winners of a poster contest on March 29.

Laura Hawkins, Program Manager, Community Health, Newton Medical Center and Hackettstown Medical Center and Project Manager for Forward Franklin, handed out the awards. She said,

“We all want to live in a community that feels like home, a place that gives us a sense of pride, and the type of town we want to work hard to protect and maintain," she said. "Young people who engage in community projects develop a strong sense of pride and ownership of their community, learn civic responsibility and develop a confidence that they are a valued member of their community. Forward Franklin is about promoting wellness through engagement — when community works together to make a difference.”

Forward Franklin’s Youth Affinity Group, YAG, created a poster contest and the rules. Franklin artists ages 5 -17 were invited to participate. Rules included using history, people, landscape, culture, future visions and hopes for Franklin Borough as inspiration.

Atlantic Health System’s Newton Medical Center, Franklin Borough Elementary School, Sussex County YMCA any many others helped organize and promote the contest. By the February 2019 deadline, 25 entries were submitted. The posters were on display at the Franklin Library prior to the big reveal of winners held during the 2nd Annual Family Art Night, Friday March 29th 2019, at the Franklin Borough Elementary School.

The 2nd Annual Family Art Night was hosted by Franklin Elementary Art Teachers. In addition to Forward Franklin Alliance, Peters Valley School of Craft and Artsonia, the World’s Largest Student Art Museum, supported Family Art Night.

Atlantic Health sponsored a $50 Visa gift card for the 1st place winners in each division and a $25 Visa gift card for the 2nd place winners. All participants received a gift bag filled with goodies, some of which came from Zufall Health as well as a coupon toward dessert from Café e Dolci located in the Shoprite Shopping Plaza.

Judges were local historian Judy Williams, Franklin Borough art teachers Amanda Huffman and Suzanne O’Connor, and one representative from the Forward Franklin Alliance.

Dayna Alemy, a student at Franklin Elementary school and first-place winner in the 14-17 age division, described her poster.

“I have lived in Franklin my whole life, so I know about Franklin and I wanted to represent Franklin in its entirety," she said. "The background is Franklinite, the pickaxe is to represent the minerals and the museum. I showed the state insect and state flower and used an old font style in my title to represent the past.”

Several posters, including one by Joshua Chaparro-Hicks age 6, and Lily Benacquista age 8, depicted the Franklin Borough School Chief Administrator Mr. John R Giacchi, and Mrs. Lisa Vallacchi, Vice Principal. Giacchi commented that he loved seeing his dress tie drawn in one of the posters. Jacinda DeSino, age 10, made sure the Teachers from the YMCA were in her picture. Ella Darvalics, age 11, created a collage of Franklin and included the oak tree in front of the School and Franklin Pond. The oak tree outside the Franklin Borough School represented the past and present as many artists and spectators said they have had a picture taken in front of that oak tree over the years.

Tamara Contreras from Forward Franklin Alliance said the posters will now be on display throughout the Borough and encourages residents to be on the lookout for the “wonderful artwork!”

“It was great to see their visions on paper," she said. "These young residents are the future of our community. Arts and culture are very important and used in many communities to bring people together. I hope more creative opportunities become possible in Franklin for residents of all ages.”

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