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Local students aim to prevent littering through billboard contest

During a recent regular meeting, the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners recognized the winners of the Don't Be A Litterbug billboard contest for Cleveland County students in grades K - 5. Participants were divided into two grade categories, K-2 and 3-5, with the top 3 winners being selected from each category. The 1st place winner from each category will have their designs turned into a billboard that will be displayed in Cleveland County for six months. All winners were awarded certificates by our County Commissioners and were commended for helping to spread the word about the importance of not littering. A total of 249 contest entries were received and judged by a panel of local professionals.
This contest was sponsored by Cleveland County government and the Cleveland County Public Health Center as part of a larger litter prevention initiative set forth by the County.
Cleveland County Commissioner Susan Allen states, "Cleveland County is committed to reducing the negative effects of litter around the county. The County Retail Task Force initiated the litter contest to ask for participation from the youth in our schools. The success of this contest reflects the amount of importance the community places on litter collection and prevention, and we are excited to continue to improve the natural beauty of our county through various programs and initiatives."
DeShay Oliver, Public Information Officer with the Cleveland County Public Health Center, said, "We strategically chose to kick off this initiative by engaging elementary and intermediate school-aged children because we felt like they would be instrumental in talking with their parents and other caregivers about the importance of not littering. By having them participate in this contest, not only did we reach the students, but hopefully their families as well. Moreover, the future of our county is in their hands. If we can instill good habits in them while they are young, hopefully this will be carried with them into adulthood."
The billboards will serve as an additional means to get their anti-littering messages out to the larger community. "A common theme that was seen throughout almost all contest entries was the importance of protecting our planet and taking pride in our community. We hope the community will take heed in these messages portrayed by our young people," said Oliver.
The contest sponsors would like to extend a special thank you to our schools for helping to promote the contest, and to all of the students who took the time to design and submit entries.

The winners are as follows:
Grades K - 2 Category
1st Place Caleb Crotts 2nd grade Fallston Elementary
2nd Place Minyan Ou 2nd grade Fallston Elementary
3rd Place Jaden Burns 2nd grade Washington Elementary

Grade 3 - 5 Category
1st Place Haylan Ellis 5th grade Shelby Intermediate School
2nd Place Sadie Oliver 5th grade Shelby Intermediate School
3rd Place Annie Byers 5th grade Pinnacle Classical Academy

Pictured: Cleveland County Commissioners recognized the winners of the K-5 Don't Be A Litter Bug Billboard Contest during their regular meeting. The winners are pictured with County Commissioners, Cleveland County Public Health staff, members of the Cleveland County Retail Taskforce and Cleveland County Schools Superintendent Stephen Fisher: Back row from left to right are the winners of the grades 3-5 category: Annie Byers, Sadie Oliver, and Haylan Ellis. Front row from left to right are the winners of the grades K - 2 category: Jaden Burns, Minyan Ou, and Caleb Crotts.
Submitted by Deshay Oliver

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