Ocean Acres School First-Grader Wins National Coloring Contest

Feb 06, 2019
Photo by: Supplied

When presented with a project in Jennifer Lowe’s first-grade class at Ocean Acres Elementary School several months ago, Anna Molettiere didn’t have an opportunity to color her favorite animal – the majestic tiger. Nonetheless, the 6-year-old made the most of the chance to utilize her art skills.

“I like coloring a lot,” Anna recently said while at home after school. “You get to do whatever you want.”

And while Anna was able to do what she wanted with regard to selecting colors for her art project, she also learned something significant about it.

“Mrs. Lowe told us it was for a contest,” she said. “She sent all of them from our class.”

The “Be Kind Coloring Contest,” part of Safe Fleet’s “United to End Bullying” community outreach initiative, not only was open to students in kindergarten through high school in the United States and Canada, it also received nearly 2,900 entries.

On Jan. 10, Safe Fleet announced the winners, and Anna’s name was at the top of the list for her kindergarten-first grade age group. As one of six winners, Anna was selected ahead of Olivia from Lake Harriet Community School in Minnesota. Ocean Acres Principal Susan D’Alessandro provided Anna with the good news.

“Mrs. D’Alessandro told me, and I smiled,” Anna said. “I was really happy because I never won a contest like that before.”

Anna’s mother, Julia, the school nurse at McKinley Avenue Elementary School, found out beforehand.

“It was exciting,” she said. “Anna spends a lot of time doing artwork, and she likes things to be perfect. She sits at her craft table all day long with craft supplies and anything she can cut up, and she draws and colors lots of animals. She’ll do anything with glue or use anything she can make a tiger out of. She also makes a lot of cards for people. She loves doing artwork.”

Of course, the Safe Fleet coloring contest had a specific theme designed to encourage children to think about the kindness they extend to others, and Anna made sure to use a variety of colors when filling in the faces, hair styles and clothing of the various children in the picture.

“Some had dark hair and some had light hair,” she said. “Some had light skin and some had dark skin. And the bear in the corner was brown and tan.”

For her outstanding coloring effort, Anna received a medal and a gift card, and Safe Fleet awarded a $500 grant to Ocean Acres Elementary to be used toward its anti-bullying programs.

The United to End Bullying program is the national social campaign of Safe Fleet, the leading provider of safety solutions for fleet vehicles, and its subsidiaries.

“United by the cause, we strongly believe that every small action or step contributes to a big change in our society,” states the United to End Bullying website.

So, what’s next for young Anna? She expects to continue enjoying art, music, writing and math. But for her next big gig, it might be cooking. She recently was selected as a finalist for Sodexo’s Future Chefs Fiesta Fit Culinary competition for a healthy-Mexican dish recipe she submitted.

“Anna’s on a streak,” Julia Molettiere said. “We might have to get her to pick a lottery ticket for us.”

— David Biggy


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