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Posted: 04/09/14

Romeo students win patriotic art contest

Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo High School students have claimed all three spots in a contest showing what patriotism means to today's youths.
       Anissa Raciti, a sophomore from Romeo, won first place in the VFW's 2013-14 Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest, held at the district level by the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 2052.
       Joining her is Tyler Michalski, a junior from Romeo who won second place, and Dalynne Sutton, a sophomore from Washington Township who took third place.
       Raciti will advance to the state level of the competition, where her artwork will compete against others from around Michigan for hundreds of dollars in scholarship money.
       The annual contest challenges students in grades 9-12 to show their idea of patriotism through works of art. Submitted pieces are judged on uniqueness, clarity of ideas and technique.
       The students must submit non-digital art and adhere to the Federal Flag Code if they use Old Glory in their work, such as using the proper number of stars and stripes.
       Jenny Teller, VFW 2052 Ladies Auxiliary senior vice-president, said this year's 43 submissions from Almont, Armada and Romeo students were touching to view.
       "It's really heartwarming to see what young people are thinking when they think of patriotism and how they're able to transfer that onto paper using their art abilities," she said.
       In addition to their artwork, each entry must have a written description explaining the student's thoughts on what motivated them in order to qualify.
       Raciti's winning artwork depicts a uniformed veteran saluting a flag, with the phrase "All gave some, some gave all" written at the top of the image.
       "I was really shocked to win, it feels really surreal," Raciti said. "I was happy and excited."
       She said her image was inspired by her grandfather, a veteran of the Korean War.
       "I like that we had to show the United States, our country and how much we care about it," she said.
       Local artists Robert Fionda and Sharon Will judged this year's district contest. In choosing Raciti's image, they said it exemplifies a strong sense of patriotism, shows good composition and honored both veterans and her grandfather.
       "Every entry has its own importance, even though it may not have been chosen by a judge," Teller said. "It's so important to have our young people remember and honor our patriotic heritage."
       Michalski's second-place image showed the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. flag and a soldier on a doorstep along with poppy flowers. A red stamp reads "America" over the image.
       "I thought it was a cool project to do," he said. "For me the inspiration came from an idea my friend had."
       Sutton's third-place image was a black-and-white bald eagle in front of a colorful U.S. flag blowing in the wind.
       For winning first place, Raciti will receive a $100 scholarship, while Michalski will take home $75 for second place. Sutton earned $50 for winning third.
       Raciti has the chance to win $1,100 for taking first place at the state level. Second place wins $850 and third place earns $600.
       The top state winner advances to the national level to compete against 50 other entries, one for each state and the District of Columbia. The top winner will claim the grand prize of a $10,000 scholarship. First place also receives a plaque and airfare and lodging to attend the Ladies Auxiliary National Convention.
       The top three winning pieces are published in the Ladies Auxiliary VFW magazine and website, with first place claiming the cover.

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