May 10, 2007 — Dozens of young students from schools all over St. Croix got a moment in the spotlight Wednesday at the Caribbean Community Theatre as the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center gave out awards for its annual poster contest.
The center holds the contest every year to further its educational mission. The posters, whose theme this year was "Kindness is Contagious," are supposed to illustrate aspects of how to treat animals.
Each grade from kindergarten through 6th gets an award for first, second and third place, and an honorable mention, so there are plenty of winners. Grades above 6th are judged together as one group.
"Weve been doing the contest about 15 years now," said Therese Donarski, the center's humane education coordinator. "This is the second year weve held the awards here at CCT. Its part of our outreach. Every year we also try to teach each grade a class on how to treat animals."
There were also prizes. All the honorable mentions received a cup and some other items, while first-, second-, and third-place winners received $20, $15 and $10, respectively. But it was not a cutthroat competition. The goal was education rather than strict artistic accomplishment.
"Helping to judge the posters was the best two hours of fun Ive had in a long time," Donarski said. "There were so many; more than 250. They had really good messages this year, showing they know how to treat animals and want to help. There are posters of turtles caught in nets; of children feeding, bathing and caring for animals and cleaning up after them — a really wide range of good ideas."
Before giving out the prizes, Donarski, center director Mary Edwards and veterinarian Stacia Boswell spoke about the importance of being kind to animals.
"Sometimes children, you have to excuse adults when they mistreat animals because they just dont know better," Donarski said. "But you dont have to be like them. You know better."
As always, the center promoted spaying and neutering household pets so they wont breed out of control.
"Animals cant add or subtract but they sure can multiply," said Boswell to the children. "One cat can have three litters a year, with three to six kittens each time If it keeps on, pretty soon you have more pets than houses."
After the young artists all received their prizes, everyone adjourned to the theatres enclosed pavilion for refreshments.
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