CITY HALL — Several students in Santa Monica public schools were rewarded for their creativity last week as city officials announced the winners of the fifth annual Sustainable Santa Monica Student Poster Contest.
This year’s theme focused on disabilities awareness and accessibility. Students were challenged to express their ideas through art by answering the question, “How do people with disabilities access and enjoy nature in Santa Monica with their family and friends?”
The contest was open to all K-12 students that attend school in the city by the sea. Close to 300 entries were judged this year and approximately 2,400 students have participated in the contest since its inception, city officials said.
“The contest holds a unique opportunity for us to highlight elements of the Sustainable City Plan while educating students and supporting the arts,” said Shannon Parry, assistant director of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, which hosted the contest along with the Santa Monica Disabilities Commission and the local nonprofit Sustainable Works, an environmental education organization.
“We plant a seed for our future leaders, plus have lots of fun,” Parry said.
The Sustainable City Plan was initially adopted by the City Council in 1994 and is founded on 10 guiding principles that provide the basis from which decisions can be made. Progress on the plan is measured annually. It focuses on key areas including protection of the natural environment, economic health and social equity. Being sustainable means meeting existing needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own, according to the plan.
City Hall is currently constructing an universally accessible playground at 2900 Ocean Front Walk that will exceed Americans with Disabilities Act requirements so that all children, regardless of handicap, can play and socialize with others.
After what city officials said was a rigorous judging process consisting of a panel of experts, here are the winners of the poster contest:
Grand Prize: Raeva Vasisht, Grant Elementary, Second Grade
Runner Up: Lia Levin, Will Rogers Elementary, First Grade
Honorable Mention: Ellenor Brandt, Grant Elementary, Second Grade
Grand Prize: Vannessa Lin, Roosevelt, Fifth Grade
Runner Up: Olivier Tetsu Velde, Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, Fifth Grade
Honorable Mention: Sage Singh, Grant Elementary, Fourth Grade
Grand Prize: Maya Goren, John Adams Middle School, Sixth Grade
Runner Up: Alyssa Tohyama, Lincoln Middle School, Seventh Grade
Honorable Mention: Tahsin Thaver, Lincoln Middle School, Seventh Grade
Honorable Mention: Livy Larson, Lincoln Middle School, Seventh Grade
Grand Prize: Natthavadee Laoharangsima, Santa Monica High School, Ninth Grade
Runner Up: Elsa Lopez, Santa Monica High School, Ninth Grade
“The Disabilities Commission is proud to partner with the city’s efforts in sustainability,” said Christopher Arroyo, Santa Monica Disabilities Commission chair. “This poster contest creates an awareness of the kinds of accommodations individuals with disabilities may need, but it’s exciting to see the students’ submissions because they are frequently creative in ways we never could have anticipated. And that creativity suggests sustainable accommodations that ensure individuals with disabilities are fully included in their communities.”
Winning students and all participating students were honored at an awards ceremony and celebration hosted by the Annenberg Community Beach House. Winning student entries were on display in City Hall during the first few weeks of May.