LEICESTER, Mass. — The road to peace is paved with the dreams of Leicester's youth, who recently created their own artistic visions of what an idyllic world would look like for a Lion's Club poster contest.
Through the Leicester Lions Club, Leicester Middle School's seventh-graders joined young people from around the world to express their visions of peace through the annual International Peace Poster Contest.
"The theme is different every year, with this year's being 'Imagine Peace'," said Leicester Middle School art teacher Laura Dusty.
Winners are selected by the Leicester Lions, who chose their favorites to move on to the next stage of the contest.
The assignment gave young students an opportunity to explore new ideas of peace, going beyond the scope of their own experiences.
"While a lot of the students might think about being nice to each other and hear a lot about bullying, I think the students don't always think about peace on a world-wide scale in terms of good health care and clean water, so that was something that we talked about in class," said Dusty.
In Madison Dufres' winning poster, she drew a road heading through the wilderness, with people thinking about peace.
"I felt that nature is peaceful," explained Madison, who loves drawing and enjoyed participating in the poster contest. "I was pretty excited to win."
To help brainstorm ideas for his poster, Chris Porcaro listened to John Lennon's 'Imagine' and tried to portray lyrics like "the brotherhood of man" and "the world will live as one" through his drawing.
Students incorporated different symbols for peace in their artwork, with Kelsey Williamson's poster depicting a girl sitting on a seesaw to signify balance, and Giuliana Russo's third-place poster showing people in a city venturing out to a more utopian country.
"I think life in the city can be rough, so they just want to get away and be somewhere beautiful and peaceful," she said.
Billy Roberts drew his vision of peace from his own love for skateboarding, which he said calms him down.
From this inner peace, Roberts formed a peace symbol out of skateboards, with a half pipe and rainbow completing its circle.
Leicester winners included: Madison Dufres, Chris Porcaro, Rose Grady, Kelsey Williamson, Billy Roberts and Giuliana Russo.