Stratton youth wins national poster contest

With a vibrantly-coloured poster of two parrots and the slogan, “You don’t need drugs to colour your life,” Brandon Olsen earned top honours in a national poster contest sponsored by the Elks and Royal Purple.
Tony Kadikoff, past Ontario Elks provincial president, presented the Grade 6 student at the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program with a plaque, a national award, and a certificate of merit during an assembly there last Thursday afternoon.
“He cleaned house and did an excellent job in representing himself in Rainy River, Ontario, and all of Canada,” Kadikoff said.
Olsen, 11, couldn’t stop smiling throughout the presentation, especially since he’d only received the good news the night before.
Kendall Olsen, his father and vice-principal of SCAP, managed to keep the win a secret until the night before the assembly.
“I was jumping on [my father] and hugging him,” the youngster said in describing his reaction when he heard the good news.
“He just about went through the ceiling,” agreed his father.
Another surprise was the amount of money he received—“way more” than he expected. He expected to win $100 but the Elks awarded him $25 for winning locally, $75 for winning provincially, and $100 for the national award.
Olsen is going to put most of his prize money into his savings account but perhaps some will go towards his stamp and coin collections.
He spent more than a week creating the poster during art class.
“I was looking through a magazine and saw parrots,” he said of how he came up with the design. His father helped him with the slogan.
Olsen’s poster will be displayed at the annual Elks and Royal Purple national convention in Yellowknife.
One of the Elks’ main goals is helping youth focus on drug awareness.
In Rainy River District, brochures promoting the contest were distributed to most schools with the assistance of OPP officers who teach the D.A.R.E. program.