‘Kindness Matters’

Father Marquette Catholic Academy girl wins local poster contest

Kassie Pawlak, front center, a student at Father Marquette Catholic Academy, is the local winner of the Lions Clubs International Peace Poster Contest. Other academy participants in the contest are: back row from left, Luke Applekamp, Neva Voogd, Benny Edwards and Natalie Neher; middle row from left, Claire Maskart, Natalie Schetter, Sophia Capuana, Victoria Turausky, Mack Schlict and Logan Matt; and front row from left, Shaylynn Goodreau Kangas, Riley Cururan, Pawlak, Mason Bocklund and Laura Markey. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Lions Club)

MARQUETTE — It’s never too late to teach kids about peace.

Students at Father Marquette Catholic Academy again participated in this year’s Lions Clubs International Peace Poster Contest, which had the theme of “Kindness Matters.”

The poster created by sixth-grader Kassie Pawlak was chosen as the best local artwork that depicted the theme, with her poster advancing to judging at the district and possibly the international levels.

Kassie’s quote on her feelings about peace is: “When I feel peace, I feel the silence of hate and I hear the loud shout of love.”

Kassie, whose family is moving to Marquette from downstate Charlevoix, said it took her a few days to make the poster during the week students made their drawings.

The idea behind her poster, she said, sprung from her friendship with a friend from Charlevoix, an adopted African-American girl.

“We were just best friends for our whole lives,” Kassie said.

In fact, they played with each other all the time.

“It inspired my poster because our bond was unbreakable,” Kassie said. “If we got into a fight, she was always so forgiving.”

She, in turn, forgave as well, not that a disagreement was easy to come by.

“It was hard to have a fight with her because she was so loving,’ Kassie said.

Her poster shows two people’s arms — one white, one African-American — with their hands touching underneath a red heart.

Kassie said that after learning she won the local contest, it surprised her because all her classmates did such a good job.

“My heart jumped out of me,” she said. “I said, whoa, there were so many talented pieces of art.”

Other Father Marquette posters depicted colorful peace signs and heart symbols.

Kassie’s poster is something that probably shouldn’t be discarded no matter how she places in further competition.

Kassie said that when she gets her poster back, her mother probably will buy a border for it and put the art piece on a wall.

Her poster will move through district, multiple district and international levels of competition, with an international grand prize winner chosen.

For over three decades, Lions clubs around the globe have been sponsoring a special art contest in schools and youth groups.

“Creating peace posters gives children everywhere the chance to express their visions of peace and inspire the world through art and creativity,” its website read.

Joe Baczkowski, the Peace Poster chairman for the Lions Clubs’ Upper Peninsula district and secretary for the Marquette Lions Club, said that about 400,000 youngsters around the world participated in the competition.

A local Lions Club goal, he said, is to get more public schools involved in the contest.

“It’s just something we like to get involved with with the children,” Baczkowski said.

The club also provides dictionaries to third-graders, he said.

In the meantime, Baczkowski appreciates Kassie’s artistic talent.

“Got a real talent with the way she drew the fingers and everything,” he said.

For more information, visit www.lionsclubs.org and search peace poster.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.