District Five student wins statewide poster contest

A Leaphart Elementary School STEAM Magnet fifth grader will represent South Carolina in the National Missing Children’s Day Poster contest sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

Harper O’Neal won first place in the South Carolina division of the nationwide contest. With the theme of “Bringing Our Missing Children Home,” OJJDP invites fifth graders each year to participate in the National Missing Children’s Day poster contest. The winning poster is the inspiration for the National Missing Children’s Day poster and artwork for the following year.

“I feel very proud of my artwork,” O’Neal said. “I really put a lot of effort and thought into it and I’m so happy to see that I won the contest. Every time I would continue working on it I would get new ideas then I would sketch it with pencil, trace it with a sharpie, then color my idea. I wanted the poster to make the viewer feel happiness and joy to see that the child in the poster is happily running into her mom’s hands to give her a hug. I feel there are some missing children in the world that come home to their parents thrilled to see their parents. I’m overjoyed to experience the feeling of winning!”

The contest creates an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and child advocates to discuss the issue of missing and exploited children with youth and their families and to promote child safety. Each state winner will represent their state for the national level of the contest.

“Harper continues to make Leaphart proud,” said Leaphart Elementary School Principal Courtney Sims said. “She exemplifies what it means to put the A in STEAM, and we celebrate her talent as an artist. Harper has such compassion for citizens in our school community and beyond. I am grateful that her artwork was selected to showcase such an important issue in our world.”

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and strengthen the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.