Fifth-grader among winners of statewide calendar contest

Photo submitted
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

A South St. Marys Street Elementary School fifth grader’s artwork was recently selected to appear in the 2019 Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Drug-Free Calendar.
Abri Assalone is among this year’s contest winners. Her drawing, “Choose the Right Path, to be Drug Free”, depicts a student standing at a junction with one side showing a colorful path of education with college as the end goal, or a muted-colored path of drug use on the other side showing a prison cell as the end result.
Abri’s entry appears in the December slot of the calendar.
Each calendar month is represented with the artwork of a Pennsylvania student, with one additional student illustration on the front of the calendar. The winning entries were chosen out of 912 submissions from 140 schools in 47 counties in Pennsylvania, based on the artists’ creativity and ability to illustrate and convey a drug-free message.
“Our annual calendar contest is about more than celebrating student artwork; it’s about students empowering other young people to make smart choices,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Combatting the opioid epidemic is my number one priority and we need a multi-pronged approach, including education to prevent drug use. Children must learn about the real dangers of substance abuse, and the calendar contest helps spread that message across the Commonwealth.”
In mid-December, the students and their families were invited to the Office of Attorney General in Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, where they were guests at a luncheon with Attorney General Shapiro.
Eleven teachers were also in attendance, among them being Abri’s homeroom teacher Mark Caskey and Donna Cassels, SSMSE art teacher. The group also toured the capitol during their trip.
Shapiro discussed the dangers of drugs with the students and snapped photos with them and their families.
Caskey said Shapiro did a great job relating to the kids and stressing the importance of the contest. He said during the ceremony, Shapiro noted how his office’s employees look forward to the contest each year as it provides a much-needed break from their stressful jobs.