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2019 Safety Contest winners announced

The votes have been tallied and Metra today announced the news that school-age children across the region have been waiting for:  the names of the winners of its 2019 Safety Poster and Essay Contest.

Each year, Metra invites students in grades K-12 throughout its six-county service area to submit poster designs and essays highlighting the importance of railroad safety. This year, Metra received more than 1,900 entries. Students created artwork and wrote essays around the theme “Use Your Senses: Look, Listen, Live.”

The contest, which is in its 13th year, enables students to use their creativity to take ownership of the safety message by creating posters and essays that are used by Metra in its safety campaigns. The winners were selected through a three-round judging process with the finalists judged by a panel of 20 that included government officials, representatives from safety and education advocacy groups, business and community leaders, law enforcement, media and railroad professionals.

“It’s wonderful to see how many students participated in this contest and learned the importance of staying safe near the railroad,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “The winners of this contest have done a great job of demonstrating it through artwork and essays.”

First-, second- and third-place winners were chosen from each grade level in elementary school, middle school and high school. First-place poster and essay contest winners receive an iPad, while second- and third-place poster contest winners receive $250 and $100 gift cards, respectively.

A People’s Choice Award winner will also be selected via voting on Metra’s website metrarail.com. Members of the general public can select their favorite poster from this year’s first-place winners. Voting for People’s Choice will be available online through midnight June 7. The artist who garners the most votes will receive an additional $250 prize. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced at the June 12 meeting of the Metra Board of Directors. Click here to cast your vote.

Metra also recognizes the school with the most entries submitted in the poster contest. This year’s winner is Ida B. Wells Preparatory Elementary Academy with 274 entries. In honor of this achievement, the school will receive a Dell 7th Generation laptop computer for use in the classroom.

The following were chosen as winners of the 2019 Safety Poster and Essay Contest:

Top Participating School
Ida B. Wells Preparatory Elementary Academy, Chicago

First Place Essay
K-4 Division – Jai Viswanathan, 3rd Grade, May Watts Elementary, Naperville
5-8 Division – Ava Doran, 6th Grade, Alexander Graham Bell, Chicago
9-12 Division –Alex Chan, 12th Grade, Naperville Central High School, Naperville

First Place Poster
Kindergarten – Roman Baranovski, May Watts Elementary, Naperville
1st Grade –      Leah Wong, Madison Elementary, Hinsdale
2nd Grade —     Evelyn Kuzmik, Kingsley Elementary, Naperville
3rd Grade —     Noah Bae, Hoffman Elementary, Glenview
4th Grade —     Maria Kadochnikova, J.B Nelson Elementary, Batavia
5th Grade —     Habin Park, Glenview School of Arts, Glenview
6th Grade —     David Kang, Maple School, Northbrook
7th Grade —     Nikita Jurcenko, Geneva Middle School North, Geneva
8th Grade –     Eun Chae Lee, Glenview School of Arts, Glenview
9th Grade —     Aaliyah Merrick, Marian Catholic High School, Chicago Heights
10th Grade —     Charles Choi, John Hersey High School, Arlington Heights
11th Grade —      Lindley Wiesner, Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest
12th Grade —      Arnold Macias, Grayslake North High School, Grayslake

Second Place Poster
Kindergarten—Jacob Zhang, Skinner North Classical School, Chicago
1st Grade —     Carter F. Killackey, Sacred Heart School, Lombard
2nd Grade —     Brigid Park, Ranch View Elementary, Naperville
3rd Grade —     Gia Choudhary, White Eagle Elementary, Naperville
4th Grade —     Benjamin Kuzmik, Kingsley Elementary, Naperville
5th Grade —     Evan Boyle, Lincoln Elementary, Saint Charles
6th Grade —     Alina Qian, Twin Groves Middle School, Buffalo Grove
7th Grade —     Gabriella Speck, Liberty Junior High School, Burbank
8th Grade —     Grace Soh, Dundee Middle School, West Dundee
9th Grade —     Derek Zhang, Naperville North High School, Naperville
10th Grade —     Kaylee Kim, Conan High School, Hoffman Estates
11th Grade —      Carolina Moctezuma, Carmel Catholic High School, Mundelein
12th Grade —      Lizbeth R. Aranda, Elgin High School, Elgin

Third Place Poster
Kindergarten — Neil Choudhary, White Eagle Elementary, Naperville
1st Grade —     Andy Suh, Wescott Elementary, Northbrook
2nd Grade —     Eli J. Lopez, Antioch Elementary, Antioch
3rd Grade —     Levi Boyle, Lincoln Elementary, Saint Charles
4th Grade —     Amber Hwang, Wescott Elementary, Northbrook
5th Grade —     Michelle Chung, Greenbriar Elementary, Northbrook
6th Grade —     Matthew Drake, St. Peter Lutheran School, Arlington Heights
7th Grade —    Ksenia Kapkanova, Thompson Middle School, Saint Charles
8th Grade —     Ava McQuain, West Oak Middle School, Mundelein
9th Grade —     Kelly Emujin Tsogtjargal, Maine East High School, Park Ridge
10th Grade —     Noah Reese, Highland Park High School, Highland Park
11th Grade —     Hyori Han, New Trier Township High School, Winnetka
12th Grade —      Daphne Johnson, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago

Honorable Mention Essay
K-4 Division — Arvind Narayan, 3rd Grade, White Eagle Elementary, Naperville
K-4 Division — Aarohan Jai Anand, 3rd Grade, White Eagle Elementary, Naperville
5-8 Division —  Bridget Gannon, 6th Grade, St. Francis Xavier, LaGrange
5-8 Division —  Brynna Siewers, 6th Grade, Palos South Middle School, Palos Park
5-8 Division —  Adhvaith Mhahesh, 8th Grade, Francis Granger Middle School, Aurora
5-8 Division —  Jack Foley, 8th Grade, Queen of All Saints, Chicago
9-12 Division— Chelsea Nwanah, 12th Grade, Lincoln Park High School, Chicago
9-12 Division— Kate E. Hoekstra, 12th Grade, Lyons Township North High School,     
                                    LaGrange

Honorable Mention Poster
Kindergarten
Victor Xu, Steeple Run Elementary, Naperville
Jay Zang, Madison Elementary, Hinsdale

3rd Grade
Nishika Dubey, Cowlishaw Elementary, Naperville
Allison Jung, Shabonee Elementary, Northbrook

4th Grade
Katelyn Anzevino, Joseph Sears School, Kenilworth

5th Grade
Hatziri Morales, Burnham Elementary, Burnham

7th Grade
Evan Benz, Nichols Middle School, Evanston
Jeehyung Yoo, Northbrook Junior High, Northbrook

8th Grade
Mishka Parashar, Eastview Middle School, Bartlett

10th Grade
Cooper Morita, Grayslake North High School, Grayslake

11th Grade
Lauren Toepper, Woodstock High School, Woodstock

12th Grade
Salvador Madera, Whitney M. Young High School, Chicago

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