Mar. 13—One day after returning home from work, Sebastian Clavere's parents found him holed up in his room and surrounded by crumpled-up pieces of paper.
Those discarded scraps were the first drafts of what would soon be the winning artwork for the 2021 Children's Champion billboard competition.
During a specially-held meeting of Madison County's family resource youth services center (FRYSC) members, artwork from different schools in the district was presented and voted on.
Clavere's piece won the popular vote.
On Wednesday, Clavere was presented with his plaque for winning the competition, along with $100 for himself and $100 for his school — Berea Community Elementary School.
Tina Williams, Clavere's art teacher at Berea Community Elementary School, said she really appreciated his diligence.
Williams said Clavere worked really hard to get the design just right.
Clavere said he has always been interested in art.
His father, Javier Clavere, said his son draws as well as paints. However, Clavere, a third-grader at Berea Community, said artwork is just a hobby. This could change, though, because he said he wasn't entirely sure what he wanted to be when he grew up.
It is opportunities like this, for a student to be recognized for something they are passionate about, why Children's Champions exists.
Phillis Adams, president of the Children's Champions of Madison County and member of the Madison Kindergarten Academy's advisory council, explained Children's Champions had been around since 1997. During that year, the Children's Champions had their very first billboard competition. The piece of artwork which won in 1997 is now the logo for the organization.
"We want to get the word out about adults giving children more opportunities to be successful," Adams said when asked why the Children's Champions group was founded. "That's what it's all about."
Adams went on to explain the more children are successful, the better off they are as far as being able to learn new and essential things. She said the group wants adults to be good role models; to teach children about health and safety.
"Anything that adults do in regard to their daily activities can be an example of being a children's champion," Adams said.
She went on to say, even adults who do not have children can still be a children's champion.
She said if an adult lives somewhere where there is a child or group of children, hosting a fundraiser such as selling cookies and purchasing some of their products, they are helping the child be successful.
"Any adult can be a children's champion," Adams said.
She said, usually, the month of March is Children's Champions month here in Madison County.
It is a a month where the group puts on various activities to help get out the message about adults becoming children's champions. However, with COVID-19, activities like they have had in the past, have not been an option. So, this year, the billboard contest is all the champions will have.
However, Adams said she is hopeful next year, they will be able to host their events again annd March 2022 will be a Children's Champions month to remember.