TROY — An artistic display of family traditions proved triumphant for Cookson Elementary School third grader Willow Pellman, 9, who was recently announced as one of the winners of a Dayton-area art contest.
The Miami Valley-wide event was put on by Family Services of Dayton.
“The contest is held every year, and this year’s theme was, ‘Traditions Build Strong Families,’” said Elaine Creager, art teacher at Cookson Elementary. “I told the students to think about their families and what made them stand out. I told them to pinpoint things they enjoyed doing together, even if it’s something very simple.
“Willow came with her idea, wrote out the words describing what the tradition was, and then drew a picture to submit.”
More than 600 entries were submitted from schools throughout the Miami Valley. Twenty-two winners were chosen, including Willow’s submission.
“Every day of the week of Christmas, we open one present,” Willow said. “I drew a picture with a Christmas tree and presents and stockings hanging. It’s a special tradition, because my sister and I have to think about what presents we’re going to give each other, and it’s usually something really special.”
Creager received news of Willow’s win about two weeks after submission.
“I was super excited,” Willow said, on winning the contest. “My mom already knew because she works at different schools. My dad was excited for me, too.”
On Saturday, Willow will attend an awards banquet at the Mandalay Banquet center in Dayton, alongside her family and Creager, where she’ll be honored, given prizes, and have her artwork displayed alongside other winners.
“There are winners for both the art contest and essay contest, so she’ll be represented in the art contest,” Creager said. “I love the way Willow has used creativity to show who her family is and why they’re so special to her.”
“I like art, because I can be creative, and just do whatever I want,” Willow exclaimed.
Willow resides in Troy with her father and mother, Larry and Laura, and her 5-year-old sister, Eden.
Willow is unsure of what she’d like to be when she grows up, but knows she’d “like to take care of a lot of cats.”