For the second year in a row, a student from Mount Pleasant High School has won the Big Sweep statewide design contest.
Earlier this month, Kendall Quick, 16, was awarded $100 for her 2012 Big Sweep T-shirt and poster concept. She also was named the 2012 N.C. Big Sweep Artist of the Year.
Big Sweep is an award-winning nonprofit that strives for a litter-free environment. Founded in 1987 as Beach Sweep, a coastal cleanup with 1,000 volunteers, the effort expanded inland in 1989. It was renamed N.C. Big Sweep and was the nation's first statewide effort to clean up waterways.
"To my knowledge, no school has ever had two contest winners," said Judy Bolin, N.C. Big Sweep president. "Since the judges don't know in advance what school the entries are from, this says a lot about the students at Mount Pleasant High School and the teachers who inspire the students."
The contest was open to all North Carolina students in grades kindergarten through 12. Almost 500 entries were judged on message, originality, educational value and attractiveness. Kendall's winning design uses a broom handle for the "i" in Big Sweep.
"One of our goals in this contest was to get the students to think about litter and to get people to participate in cleanups," said Bolin. "Ms. Quick came up with a very creative way to express it. (Her) concept is great because it can be adapted to show that volunteers are needed."
Kendall has lived in Mount Pleasant for about four years. Besides drawing, she sings and practices karate. She said she may use the $100 award money to buy some Christmas presents.
"My art teacher, Kate Highsmith, encouraged me to enter the contest," said Kendall. "It all started as a class assignment that I didn't think would ever win a thing. But she told our class that anyone of our designs could be picked, and she encouraged us to do our best.... She motivated me and my classmates to do something that would not only benefit us, but the community."
Kendall said she has never participated in cleanup efforts locally or otherwise, but said she plans to participate in the 2012 Big Sweep. She also recruited some friends to get involved.
"I was in disbelief that my design had won," said Kendall. "I was a little shy to go in front of my classmates to get the award, but it was overall an amazing experience, and I felt so lucky."
To date, nearly 315,000 Big Sweep volunteers have gathered more than 10 million pounds of debris from North Carolina's environment.
The worldwide cleanup effort is the first Saturday in October. To learn more, visit www.ncbigsweep.org.