Anti-drug poster contest winners honored by Rotary

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The Point Pleasant Rotary Club and Officer Kevin Aurin recently announced the winners of the annual L.E.A.D. poster contest. Nico Veni, of Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School, was selected as the winner of the annual L.E.A.D. poster contest for his creation “Fill the World with Confidence.” [COURTESY OF MARY GUETZLAFF]

POINT PLEASANT — Two fifth-graders were recently honored by the Point Pleasant Boro Rotary Club and Officer Kevin Aurin as the winners of this year’s L.E.A.D. poster contest.

Ocean Road Elementary School’s Abigail Crowell was selected for her poster, “Confidence is a Ray of Sunshine,” while Nico Veni, of Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School, was selected for his poster “Fill the World with Confidence.”

“I have been in Rotary 18 years so I want to say it has been a good 20 years we have been doing this,” said Mary Guetzlaff, immediate past president.

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“It usually has something to do with confidence. That is their theme and that is what they learn: being confident not to take drugs, confident not to drink, confidence not to smoke, just being confident in yourself and leading well.

“There were a lot of good posters so it was not an easy task to choose, that is for sure.”

According to the Point Pleasant Police Department’s website, the 10-week Law Enforcement Against Drugs program is taught in all of the fifth grade classes in the Point Pleasant School District and is “designed to give students the information and tools they need to resist pressures which may influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs. 

“The program also focuses on the importance of setting goals, decision making skills, effective communication, techniques to resist peer pressure and ways to help manage emotions.”

Officer Aurin has been instructing the program since 2010. Each year the rotary sponsors the annual poster contest, with the winning posters framed and displayed in the hallway of each elementary school.

“The Rotary was to judge [the posters] on March 18, however were not able to meet due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Ms. Guetzlaff said. “On May 30, Officer Kevin Aurin emailed me the posters and the Point Pleasant Boro Rotary judged by email.

“On July 1, Officer Aurin and I surprised the winners. After we frame the posters to be hung in both the schools, the Rotary will invite the winners and their family to join us for dinner.”

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