‘Kindness Matters’ for Rye Neck Middle School Students

‘Kindness Matters’ for Rye Neck Middle School Students photo

Rye Neck Middle School seventh-grader Dylan White has won the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Lions Club’s Peace Poster Contest for expressing her vision for this year’s theme of “Kindness Matters.”

“I drew a girl holding the earth with doves next to her,” White said about her peace poster project. “There were flags spiraling around her and a story of kindness on each side of the page. The message was that everyone, the whole world, has to be kind to stay together.”

White’s art teacher Trisha Appel praised her student’s understanding of the theme and artistic skill of adding realistic details in her work, as well as simplified and stylized figures to tell two different stories that show different acts of kindness. 

“Her work can reach all different types of people and connect to everyone from children to adults,” Appel said. “I love how she used different materials in a way to help emphasize different areas of her work. I think she truly showcased the message that kindness is important all around the world and even simple acts of kindness can go a long way for lasting peace in the future.”

A total of 71 seventh-graders from the middle school submitted their artwork for the schoolwide competition. They used a variety of materials – from markers to colored pencils, oil pastels, watercolor paints and tempera paint – to express their ideas. As part of the project, they also discussed what peace means to them, and many of them depicted flags from around the world as ways to express their messages. 

In addition to White, judges selected seventh-graders Blathnaid Grenouillon, Monica Kosakowski, Mana Newman, Megan Ronan and Sarah Sandberg as finalists to represent Rye Neck Middle School. Their posters were submitted to judges at the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Lions Club, who selected White as the winner of the local branch contest, while Kosakowski and Sandberg were named runners-up. White’s poster will now be submitted to the district-level competition for further judging.

For her poster, Kosakowski’s drew two hands coming together to form a heart over the earth and a white dove with flags from different countries in the background. 

“The flags represent different regions of the world and are spread out to show that kindness is everywhere,” she said. “The hands forming a heart are different races to show everyone is involved, the hands are forming the heart in the earth because kindness is important everywhere and the dove is in the heart because kindness can help create peace around the world.”

Sandberg’s poster is made up of many hearts that encompass different scenes, animals and people that are surrounded by different flags from around the world. 

“I mainly used hearts because they represent love and peace,” she said. “I thought a lot about how people and animals can positively connect with one another. I chose to use animals because they are all so different from one another.”

The Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest has been in existence for more than 30 years and provides children with the opportunity to express their creativity and visions of peace. As part of the contest, students’ posters advance through several rounds of competition before an international winner is declared on or before Feb. 1.