Feb. 3-9, 2005
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Chuck Wainwright
St. Matthew’s Student Wins ‘Clear Minds, Clear Messages’ Contest
Joey Burns was simply trying to make a difference. Joey recently won the “Clear Minds, Clear Messages” contest with a drawing that he entered in the anti-violence division. “There’s been so much violence,” said Joey. “I thought I could help stop violence to make it easier for the police.” Joey’s father is a policeman and he is concerned about the violence that his father faces every day and the long hours that he works.
Joey is a fourth grader at St. Matthew’s School in East Syracuse. He heard about the contest from Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Education Program (ADAPEP) counselor Janet Driscoll. She provides students with drug education. Onondaga Drug and Alcohol and Abuse Commission sponsored the contest. Driscoll explained the guidelines for entering the contest. Students were given two weeks to complete their entries. After their artwork was completed, it was displayed in the schools, where the teachers and principals judged it. Joey competed against first, second, and third graders from New York State.
Joey was surprised to hear that he won the contest. “I was really excited,” said Joey. “I couldn’t believe that I won it. My parents were very proud of me.” Joey decided to enter the contest because he thought he would have fun. “I also hoped that if people looked at the drawing, it might inspire them to do something good,” said Joey. Driscoll was pleased when she heard that Joey won the contest. “I think it’s great,” said Driscoll. “He’s very talented and has great ideas. This is only a start for him.” Joey has been drawing since he was very young. “I love drawing,” said Joey. “It’s so much easier to express yourself than using words and it’s fun. I hope I can go on with it. I work hard at it.”
Principal of St. Matthew’s School, Sister Marianne Baehr, CSJ, is very proud of Joey. “It’s wonderful,” said Sister Marianne. “It’s a wonderful time in his life.” His drawing consists of a group of children who are of different nationalities. When he created the drawing, he wanted to convey the message that everyone should work to have more positive feelings toward one another. The theme of the drawing is “Celebrating Our Differences.” In the drawing the children are holding hands and standing under a peace sign. The drawing is very colorful and includes a rainbow flag, blue sky, grass, birds and butterflies. Joey’s drawing has been placed on a billboard on South Salina and Raynor Streets in Syracuse. It was erected in early December. “I dedicated it to my father and my late grandfather, John Burns, who served on the police force for 38 years,” said Joey.
Joey has entered his artwork in several other contests and won. In a recent “Clear Minds, Clear Messages” contest, his winning entry carried the message “Knock Out Drugs, Not Dreams.” This design was transmitted onto a tee shirt. The design consists of a boxing glove that is knocking away drugs, and a boxing ring. Six stars appear above the boxing ring, each one signifying a positive object. The first star stands for family, and the second star stands for music. The third signifies good grades, the fourth stands for in good health, the fifth star stands for doing your best, and the sixth signifies sports.
The message that “Clear Minds, Clear Messages” sends, coupled with Joey’s talent, is a winning combination.