The Department of Human Services honored six New Jersey high school and middle school students for their creativity and artistry in depicting parental responsibility for the Division of Family Development's Annual Teen Media Contest.
Carrie Zhang, a student at Nutley's John H. Walker Middle School, was awarded first place in the middle school category of the New Jersey Department of Human Services' Annual Teen Media Contest.
The event was held at the New Jersey State House, where the art will be displayed throughout May.
The parenting-themed contest engages with high school and middle school students through art, the DHS said in a press statement. Students create original hand-drawn artwork to complement the Department's advertising campaign: "Child Support. It's more than just money." Winners are selected based on their interpretation of the year's theme. Their work is included in a calendar that is compiled and distributed every year.
This year, students illustrated ways their parents instilled the importance of community service and being a well-rounded student. The topic is relevant because of communities' recent outreach to friends and neighbors who have been impacted by the economy and/or effects of natural disasters.
"This year's theme was especially meaningful and timely for us," DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez said in an email. "Our department works with individuals and families who are economically insecure on a daily basis. In addition, we've been working closely with residents who were displaced or otherwise impacted by Superstorm Sandy. We recognize the importance of community service in supporting people in need."
Division of Family Development director Jeanette Page-Hawkins said the submissions contained illustrations of parents and their children participating in local events.
"With this year's theme, we gave young people the opportunity to think about where community service fits into family life and how parents' values are reflected in the activities they choose to involve their families in," Page-Hawkins said.
Winners in the middle school category:
* First place, Carrie Zhang, John H. Walker Middle School, Nutley
* Second place, Timothy Scherer, Monroe Township Middle School
* Third place, Sophia Jeon, Schuyler-Colfax Middle School, Wayne
Winner in the high school category:
* First place, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Piscataway High School
* Second place, Christa Pieper, Piscataway High School
* Third place, Alexandra Pietsch, Ewing High School