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Metra Announces Contest Winners of its Annual Campaign to Promote Railroad Safety Awareness

(June 2, 2009) - 
Metra today announced the winners of its 2008-2009 safety campaign contest, designed to promote railroad safety practices to students in grades K-12 throughout Northeastern Illinois. In an effort to engage even more students in railroad safety, Metra expanded its campaign this year to include its first-ever Metra Safety Essay Contest, among other additions. As a result, this year the transit agency received nearly 3,000 entries in its safety contests from hundreds of schools, marking a doubling of student participation from last year’s campaign.
 
“At Metra, safety is our number one priority,” said Philip A. Pagano, Executive Director of Metra. “We continue to expand on our safety campaign and it is really hitting home with children in a very positive, thoughtful way. We are thrilled that each year the campaign continues to grow and engage even more children in railroad safety.”
 
To date, the safety campaign’s outreach efforts include the distribution of more than 3,000 Metra Safety Calendars, more than 500,000 safety posters and almost one million pencil kits to schools throughout the region. To further increase awareness of lifesaving railroad safety practices through sponsored presentations and public outreach initiatives, Metra works with libraries, town halls, fire departments and organizations like Chicago Public Schools and the Field Museum, and Safety Partners including the Illinois Safety Council, Illinois State Police, Illinois Commerce Commission, T.E.A.R.S. and Operation Lifesaver.
 
For the past three years, the Metra Safety Poster Contest has invited students in the six-county region to submit poster designs displaying important railroad safety messages. This year’s poster contest theme was “Safety Rules: Look, Listen and Live.” To engage students in railroad safety through written expression, the Safety Essay Contest was added to the campaign. Safety essay participants were asked to express in 300 words or less why it is important we all practice safe behavior near trains and railroad tracks.
 
Also new this year, Metra announced it would give an award to the school with the most entries as well as give a “People’s Choice Award” in the Safety Poster Contest to a winner selected by the public at the Metra contest judging event at Union Station.
 
At the judging event, first-, second- and third-place winners were chosen from each grade level for the Metra Safety Poster Contest. One winner from each grade group – elementary school, middle school and high school – was chosen for the Safety Essay Contest. First-place poster contest winners and essay contest winners receive a laptop computer, while second- and third-place poster contest winners receive $250 and $100 gift cards, respectively. The top participating school also receives a computer for the entire school and the “People’s Choice Award” winner receives a $250 gift card.
 
The first-place poster designs will be featured as next year’s safety posters and distributed to more than 2,000 schools in Northeastern Illinois. The posters will also be featured in station displays, in Metra’s 2010 safety calendar, on monthly tickets and on Metra’s contest Web site. Winning safety essays will also be featured on the Metra contest Web site in addition to promotional safety materials.
 
The following students were chosen as the Safety Poster Contest’s first place winners:
  • Yanira Martinez – Kindergarten/First Grade, Pulaski Fine Arts Academy, Chicago
  • Kevin Siu – Kindergarten/First Grade, Currier Elementary School, West Chicago
  • Ethan Chen – Second Grade, Copeland Manor School, Libertyville
  • Giovanny Alexis Rodriguez – Third Grade, Avondale Elementary School, Chicago
  • William Burne – Fourth Grade, Prairieview Elementary School, Downers Grove
  • Victoria Tu – Fifth Grade, Shabonee School, Northbrook
  • Matthew Zdun – Sixth Grade, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin School, Orland Hills
  • George Finn – Seventh Grade, The Art School in Glenview, Glenview
  • Danny Caplice – Eighth Grade, McClure Junior High School, Western Springs
  • Austin Thielen – Ninth Grade, Grayslake Central High School, Grayslake
  • Allie Stage – Tenth Grade, Cary-Grove High School, Cary
  • Emily Hardesty – Eleventh Grade, Beecher High School, Beecher
  • Luke Lally – Twelfth Grade, Oak Lawn Community High School, Oak Lawn
The following students were chosen as the Safety Poster Contest’s second place winners:
  • Yasmeen Obeid – First Grade, Elizabeth Ide Elementary School, Darien
  • Raymond Arroyo – Second Grade, Pulaski Fine Arts Academy, Chicago
  • Nicholas Brown – Second Grade, Oak Glen Elementary School, Lansing
  • Alejandra Montoya – Third Grade, Currier Elementary School, West Chicago
  • Anna Lipkind – Fourth Grade, The Art School in Glenview, Glenview
  • Cameron Chen – Fifth Grade, Copeland Manor School, Libertyville
  • Luzhelena Mucino – Sixth Grade, Carlos Fuentes Charter School, Chicago
  • Reynaldo Rodriguez – Seventh Grade, Logandale Middle School, Chicago
  • Dominique Bloink – Eighth Grade, Northbrook
  • Miller Wesselhoff – Ninth Grade, Deerfield High School, Deerfield
  • Jillian Pignataro – Tenth Grade, Bartlett High School, Bartlett
  • Steven Cooper – Eleventh Grade, Beecher High School, Beecher
  • Ian Dalton – Twelfth Grade, Cary-Grove High School, Cary
The following students were chosen as the Safety Poster Contest’s third place winners:
  • Carol Boyd – Kindergarten, Taft Elementary School, Harvey
  • Shannon Simpson – First Grade, Elizabeth Ide Elementary School, Darien
  • Imani Barnes – Second Grade, Homewood Community Academy, Homewood
  • Creighton Seibert – Third Grade, Chelsea Intermediate School, Frankfort
  • Doria Lee – Fourth Grade, Jacob Beidler Elementary School, Chicago
  • Ryan Barrett – Fifth Grade, Ludwig Elementary School, Lockport
  • Stephanie Mullings – Sixth Grade, Kate Kellogg Elementary School, Lockport
  • Harrison Swanson – Seventh Grade, The Art School in Glenview, Glenview
  • Kristina Tomasic – Eighth Grade, The Art School in Glenview, Glenview
  • Alexis Dee – Ninth Grade, Bremen High School, Midlothian
  • Lizz Zonno – Tenth Grade, Bartlett High School, Bartlett
  • Teresa Gajewski – Eleventh Grade, Cary-Grove High School, Cary
  • Alejando Zarate – Twelfth Grade, Joliet Central High School, Joliet
The following student was chosen as the Safety Poster Contest’s “People’s Choice Award” winner:
  • Reynaldo Rodriguez – Sixth Grade, Logandale Middle School, Chicago
The following school submitted the most entries in the Safety Poster Contest:
  • John Gordon Elementary School, Posen
The following students were chosen as the Safety Essay Contest’s first place winners:
  • Julia Deferville – Fourth Grade, Prince of Peace School, Lake Villa
  • Fefe Ho – Sixth Grade, Westfield Junior High School, Bloomingdale
  • Kayla Barry – Eleventh Grade, Alan B. Shepard High School, Palos Heights
A judging panel made up of local government officials, representatives from safety advocacy groups, business and community leaders, members of the media and Metra representatives chose the winning poster and essay contest entries.
 
 
 
“We are honored to have such esteemed individuals make time to ensure railroad safety is a top priority,” said Pagano. “We are seeing a dramatic increase in student involvement from across the region and it’s great to see that together we are making quite an impact in helping to keep children safe.”
 
Metra recognized the winners of the 2008-2009 Metra Safety Campaign including the first place poster contest winners, essay contest winners, “People’s Choice Award” winner and top participating school at its August Board of Directors meeting.
 
Due to the overwhelming success of the Metra safety campaign program, Metra is currently planning for the 2009-2010 Metra safety campaign and corresponding activities, including the Fourth Annual Metra Safety Poster Contest and the Second Annual Metra Safety Essay Contest. Information about the 2009-2010 campaign will be available here.
 
Other additions to the 2008-2009 safety campaign include a “Teacher’s Section” on the official Metra Contest website, which offers teachers materials such as fact sheets, coloring pages and bulletin board displays to help integrate railroad safety into lesson plans. There is also a new Metra contest Facebook page which posts photos, messages and campaign news and updates for high school student participants.
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