With hundreds of entries in the annual Peace Poster contest sponsored by Lions Club International, odds are slim that local entries will win, but Muskego's Bay Lane Middle School produced two such winners, one each in the poster and essay categories.
The school celebrated the achievements during a pep rally on Thursday, and there was an extra surprise to come along with it.
Jonah Gibson, 12 years old, won regionally for his artwork, which depicted a globe being held up by joining hands. The mixed media work was an indication of Gibson's talent, something his parents said they've been aware of since Gibson was little.
"He really has been self-taught, and we're starting to look into what we can do to foster his talent," said his mom Shelly.
"I really got into art even before I got to Bay Lane," Gibson explained. "I guess I see things, and use my creativity to express them. With this piece, I took two weeks in class just to draw the globe, and probably another week to draw the background. Most artists draw people in their artwork, but I drew buildings that are a part of the different countries' cultures.
Also winning regionally was Katie Prock for her essay entry on the same topic. The essay contest is new this year, and Prock's efforts also led her to a first place win on the state level, something that the 12-year-old wasn't aware of until Thursday.
Lion Tracy DeAngelis broke the news in front of the assembly, and it seemed like the news didn't connect at first with Prock.
Art Teacher Sheri Motz called her essay "really insightful, as it first talks about peace in a larger sense, but also talks about bringing peace to her family first, and also talks about how adults haven't been examples to the younger generation and instead should learn. It puts us into a world of 'what ifs' and uses bold concepts."
"When I wrote this about two months ago, I had to really think of those things that I could do in my family to be a more peaceful person, especially with my sister," Prock said.
For the essay contest, entrants must be sight impaired and between the ages of 11 and 13. Judges will evaluate her piece along with hundreds of others internationally, with results to come later in February.