Essex County’s Young Artists Shine in Contest Promoting Drug-Free and Healthy Lifestyles

MILLBURN, NJ — Three Essex County students were among those selected as finalists in the 2022-23 Fourth Grade Folder Contest, organized by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. This annual statewide competition invited students to channel their talents to convey the message: “Fun Things to Do Instead of Doing Drugs.”

The students were recognized and honored during a virtual ceremony in the spring, including:

  • Charley Badawi from Kelly Elementary School in West Orange
  • Lyla Castelluccio from F.N. Brown School in Verona
  • Sofia Guevara from School Seven in Belleville

Anabelle De Moya, a student at Franklin Elementary School, and Venpa Ramesh from Hoover Elementary School, both in Bergenfield, were chosen as winners from among 3,000 entries. Their artwork graces the covers of 40,000 school folders sent to New Jersey schools at the beginning of the academic year. The schools also received a poster featuring each of the finalists’ artwork.

“These students deserve recognition not only for their creativity but also for delivering healthy messages to their classmates,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

He said the contest aims to actively engage students and educate them about the importance of making wise, wellness-focused choices for their future.

“Early prevention efforts are vital to instilling the importance of leading a fun, drug-free life,” Valente added.

The 2023-24 Fourth Grade Folder Contest is underway and accepting entries until December 7, with the winners and finalists set to be announced later that month.

“The contest exemplifies our commitment to fostering a drug-free generation. These young artists reaffirm that prevention starts early, and their artwork becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration for other students,” Valente said.

For more information about the Fourth Grade Folder Contest, please visit www.drugfreenj.org/4thgraderules.

 

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Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey: Best known for its statewide substance use prevention advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $200 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 217 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.

 

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