Lenihan student wins Peace Poster district contest

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By Lana Bradstream, Times-Republican

Art has been an important aspect of Alexa Gonzalez-Alvarez’s life, and the work she has dedicated to it came to the forefront on Sunday.

Gonzalez-Alvarez, 11, was awarded first place and $100 in the Lions Club Peace Poster contest for District 9MC. First place takes her poster to the upcoming state contest, and a chance to win $5,000.

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“I was very happy and proud of myself,” she said. “I’m proud all the hard work paid off.”

Sandy Thomae, the chair of the Peace Poster contest for the Evening Lions club, said Gonzalez-Alvarez’s entry was chosen because of the way peace was represented.

“Each student also spoke, and explained why they did their poster,” Thomae said. “A lot of why she was chosen was her way of presenting, and her representing the world and the hands of different colors.”

The theme for this year’s contest was Dare to Dream, she said. Thomae added it is an international contest, so it is possible Gonzalez-Alvarez’s poster could go farther after the state competition.

Contributed photo — Lenihan Intermediate School student Alexa Gonzalez-Alvarez recently placed first in the Lions Club Peace Poster contest for District 9MC. Her poster is pictured above.

Gonzalez-Alvarez got inspiration for her poster, a bandaged heart-shaped Earth being held up by hands of different colors, from the desire to show everyone can work together to make the world a better place. She said she depicted the Earth in a way to show the necessary healing and peace. The flowers on the poster represent growth and communities rising together. The different shades of hands represent diversity and the love people have for each other.

“Overall, we are capable of creating peace,” Gonzalez-Alvarez said.

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It only took a couple days for her to create her masterpiece, and said she did a lot of work on the hands, which are notorious for being difficult to draw.

“I looked at my own hands,” Gonzalez-Alvarez said. “I traced them and then colored in the rest of the details.”

The knowledge of her poster proceeding to the state competition has made the young artist a little nervous. Gonzalez-Alvarez said when she gets nervous, she draws and doodles to calm herself down.

Her mother, Maria Gonzalez-Alvarez, said she frequently has a notepad and pencil with her for sketches – particularly when family members are engaged in activities.

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“It’s funny how she’s able to capture the details of each family member, and show the good and bad in each of us,” she said. “She does a good job.”

Gonzalez-Alvarez hopes to take her love of art with her after high school. She wants to either become a cartoonist or a children’s book author and illustrator.

“I want to thank my art teacher, Mr. [Nick] Beard for believing in me,” Gonzalez-Alvarez said.

Maria said Lenihan is great for artists because students are allowed to have space and work on their projects.

“The arts are hit hard by financial decisions,” she said. “It is amazing teachers who allow students in before and after school, and inspire them to do great work.”

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