POULTNEY-Poultney High School art teacher Melissa Kristiansen had always been searching for a highly visible "showcase project" for her talented art students to sink their collective teeth into. This year, she found the perfect project that was on the national stage-the 21st Annual Junior Federal Duck Stamp Competition.
After weeks of hard work creating their stamp designs, PHS students submitted their work and nervously waited for the results.
After a short period time, news of the competition results arrived at the school. There was something for everyone to celebrate.
PHS art student Jayme Mars was shocked when she first learned that she had won a second-place ribbon in the duck stamp design program.
"I was amazed. I won a ribbon, certificate, and a Peterson Guide called 'Finding Your Wings', a book on bird watching,." Mars said. "I liked using the different colors in my picture, especially how I made the water wavy. I also liked seeing the shadow of the duck in the water."
PHS had three other art students win second place and two other students win third place in their age divisions.
Each state or territory Best of Show was submitted to the Duck Stamp Office and entered into the national Junior Duck Stamp Contest.
Dr. Joan Allemand began the unusual national art program in 1989. Vermont schools entered the program in 1992.
Since the year 2000, all 50 states-with the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands joining in-have sent student art to the competition.
PHS student Michael Mead was also surprised to hear that he won a third-place ribbon.
"I like using the color combinations and the shading," Mead said. "Jayme and I both want to continue taking art classes."
The other second-place winners were PHS senior Leah Del Pezzo and freshman Alexis Hill. The other third-place winner was nabbed by Hannah Grenier.
"As you can imagine Mrs. Kristiansen is unbelievably proud of all of us," Mars added.