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by Vida Elette Story
Pi Lambda Theta’s Beta Chi Chapter has been working for the past sixteen years with the Hackensack Public Schools to offer a special contest with a community service theme to elementary school children.The contest has always consisted of having children make posters on a specific theme. Since this is the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech given in Washington, D.C., we wanted to be sure that the children would understand the significance of the message.We also wanted to foster higher level thinking skills, while at the same time giving the children a chance to express their views on how they thought they could help to keep his “Dream” alive.Pre-K through 4th grade children were encouraged to participate in all of the elementary schools.Over four hundred entries were received and considered.
Some members of the Beta Chi Chapter of Pi Lambda Theta served as the judges of the poster contest.First, second, and third place, as well as honorable mention prizes were awarded at each grade level.Every participant was given a certificate of appreciation.The thirty-three award winners were presented with special gifts in a ceremony at the brand new Culture and Recreational Center in Hackensack.The gifts consisted of numerous art supplies appropriate to each grade level and winning position.Each child was brought to the podium and given the chance to discuss what their picture portrayed.They were then presented with a brightly colored blue and gold-wrapped package to symbolize the Pi Lambda Theta colors which, incidentally are also the Hackensack colors.
During the presentation, all of the winning posters were on display for parents and guests to view.Mayor Michael Melfi addressed the parents and students, speaking about how proud he was of the children and their art work.Many members of the Hackensack City Council and Hackensack’s Board of Education, as well as principals, vice principals, art and classroom teachers and paraprofessionals were also in attendance. Superintendent of the Hackensack Public Schools, Mr. Joseph Abate, spoke to the children and their proud parents on their accomplishments and creativity.He also thanked Pi Lambda Theta’s William Paterson University’s Beta Chi Chapter for continuing this meaningful program in Hackensack.
As part of the ceremony, some of the art of the late noted artist and cartoonist, Mr. Milton Story, was provided to demonstrate how easily a simple shape can be transformed into a more unusual picture.The children were given a set of shapes to take home, to be able to continue with their creativity.Refreshments were served, and everyone enjoyed the entire evening, with parents showing great pride in their children’s success.