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J. P. Mascaro & Sons 2014 Poster Contest and the Winner Is!



By Gary Puleo, The Times Herald

LOWER PROVIDENCE — It’s that time of year when the walls of J.P. Mascaro & Sons’ offices are transformed into a gallery showcasing the works of up-and-coming artists who tend to favor crayons and construction paper over oils and canvases.

The exhibit’s reception at Mascaro’s Audubon headquarters Friday evening drew appearances from the young artists, their families and teachers from as near as Whitehall Elementary School in West Norriton and as far away as Sacred Heart School in Rockaway, N.J., for the Eighth Annual Respect Program Poster Awards.

See a photo gallery of the event.

Vying for prizes ranging from gift cards and sketch books to laptop computers, contestants colored their worlds with vibrant and often amusing interpretations of the concepts of respect and environmentalism as they hopefully developed an early passion for people and the planet.

With a mission to educate elementary school students about the importance of respect for one another and the environment, the Mascaro outreach touched more than 40,000 students this year at nearly 200 schools, Mascaro director of education and community relations Lindsay Mascaro Ptaszenski said.

“We were trying to think of ways to enhance our program and continue to help schools spread the message of respect all throughout the year, so in 2010 we allowed schools to apply for educational grants if they were to design and implement a program in their schools that would spread the message of respect.”

As guests feasted on a lavish smorgasbord whipped up by Sessano Café & Deli — including the Norristown eatery’s award-winning slow-roasted pork — they learned which of the students’ renderings had been judged by Mascaro employees as the cream of the crop, but not before $50,000 in grant money was handed out to more than two dozen schools.

Those schools included Penn Christian Academy; Whitehall Elementary; Paul V. Fly Elementary; Roosevelt Elementary; Cole Manor Elementary; Holy Cross School; Lighthouse Christian Academy; Monocacy Elementary; East Ward Elementary; Woodland Elementary; Robeson Elementary Center; West Reading Elementary; Walnut Elementary; Norwood Elementary; Glenolden School Jefferson Elementary and Tinicum Elementary.

“Since the program started four years ago, more than $150,000 in grants has been given out,” Mascaro Ptaszenski said. “We’re really excited by the ways the schools have taken to the program.”

Recognizing students whose posters conveyed a particularly riveting message, the Respect Awards — the first letters of each spelling out the word “respect” — went to Kennedy Mason of Shamona Creek Elementary (Recycling); Drew Santmann of Woodland Elementary (Environment); Angela Barrett of St. Charles Borromeo (Special Message); Nicholas Lochetto of St. Andrew (Picasso, for a future artist); Noah (last name withheld) of Grace Park Elementary and Nina (last name withheld) of West Reading Elementary (sharing the Everyday Message Award); Abigail Karkoski of St. James School (Creativity in using artistic materials) and Madison (last name withheld) of Isaac Tripp Elementary and Katie Hopf of Woodland Elementary (sharing the Talent Award for a unique artistic hand.)

Following an impromptu dance performance by Mascaro mascot Dumpo — to the strains of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” of course — grand-prize winners who learned they would receive laptop computers were Elaina Fragassi of St. Joseph the Worker; Abigail Wanaselja of Woodland Elementary; Elizabeth Lyons of St. Patrick School and Isabella Dahms of Mary Mother of the Redeemer.