Future voters participate in art contest focused on democracy

The winning artwork will be displayed throughout the county


More than 100 students from across Douglas County participated in a local art contest this year focused on depicting democracy.

The participants, from kindergarten through high school students, used multiple mediums, including traditional and electronic methods for their submissions.

The contest was broken up into four divisions based on grade levels, with each having a different theme. Three winners from each division were chosen by a panel of judges and their artwork will be displayed in Douglas County government and school buildings until the next presidential election in 2024. 

The judges included clerk and recorder Merlin Klotz, clerk and recorder chief deputy Codie Winslow and deputy of elections Jack Twite.

“These students really took the four civic themes of this contest to heart. You can see it in their thoughtful and unique artwork,” Klotz said, according to a release from the county. “We are truly proud to see this level of creativity, awareness and engagement from the young people in our community.”

The theme for division one, which includes kindergarteners through third graders, was “American the Beautiful,” and asked artists to choose their favorite landscapes and places. There were 50 entries.

The theme for division two, which included fourth through sixth graders, was “What does America mean to you?” They received 36 entries.

The theme for the third division, made up of seventh through eighth graders, was “Citizenship in my Community” and artists were given the additional prompt of “What does it mean to be a good citizen?” There were 16 entries.

Division four, consisting of all high school students, worked on the theme “My vote, my voice” and were asked to create something that answers “Why is the right to vote important?” They received six entries.

All students who participated will receive an honorable mention certificate, according to the release.

The winners are listed below:

Division one:

First place — “Faces of America” by Anirudh Rao, third grader, STEM School Highlands Ranch 

Second place — “Our Beautiful Oceans” by Daisy Pitts, first grader, Platte River Academy

Third place — “Freedom and Unity. The American Dream” by Aubrey Wilson, third grader, Mammoth Heights Elementary

Division two:

First place — “My American Dream” by Krishanika Paramasivam Vijayalakshmi, fourth grader, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Second place — “9-11 Memorial” by Jamie Ardoin, fifth grader, Redstone Elementary

Third place– “The Valley of America” by Caden Laflin, sixth grader, Cloverleaf School

Division three:

First place — “What it means to be a good citizen” by Siddhartha Aradhya, eighth grader, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Second place — “Untitled” by Angadresma Deodatus, seventh grader, home school

Third place — “Want to be a good citizen? Here are 4 easy steps…” by Samuel Wolfe, seventh grader, Cloverleaf Home Enrichment

Division four:

First place — “Boosted to the Ballot Box” by Erika Olson, senior, Douglas County High School

Second place — “Everyone’s Vote Matters” by Gitanjali Rao, sophomore, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Third place — “A Vote of Values” by Kyliah Edmonds, junior, Castle View High School 


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