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Election of a different kind: District staff vote on kindness posters created by student-artists

Be kind posters Election day was Tuesday, Nov. 7, and Anoka-Hennepin staff at the Educational Service Center (ESC) were treated to the kind of vote that warms the heart.

District ESC staff were the official judges of this year’s kindness poster contest that featured artwork created by student-artists at each grade-level from schools all across the district.

“This is a fun part of the district’s commitment to promoting safe and supportive schools for our students,” said Stephanie Ochocki, pre-k through 12 social worker for the district, who oversees and organizes the poster contest.

The kindness poster theme this year was “Be kind. Be caring. Be awesome.” More than 100 posters representing each school’s winning submissions advanced to the final balloting at the ESC on Nov. 7.

Voters were asked to select the best poster for each grade-level. New this year in the voting process — judges were able to vote electronically. Ochocki explained how it helps improve the overall process and with gathering votes.

Those that participated in judging the posters and completing a ballot received an “I Voted” sticker to help commemorate the experience and make it feel more official.

“It’s the district’s chance to help ignite and get at the student's voice, amplifying it by making them published artists,” said Ochocki.

The winners of kindness poster contest will be recognized at a School Board meeting in January.

Ochocki still proudly displays a picture from the first year she was involved in helping organize the contest.

“I love this. It’s the best week of mail,” she said. To receive all these posters coming in, to see their voice behind each one— it’s a great step in helping kids internalize actions they will take with kindness and put them into action into their schools.”

Winners should be announced within the next few weeks, before the Thanksgiving break, Ochocki said. Each winner will have their artwork reproduced and displayed for a year at each school site.