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TRENTON — The Department of Human Services (DHS) today honored six New Jersey high school and middle school students for their creativity and artistry in depicting parental responsibility for the Division of Family Development’s Annual Teen Media Contest.   The event was held at the New Jersey State House, where the art will be displayed throughout the month of May.The contest uses the topic of parenting to engage high school and middle school students in creative thinking through art.  Students, who participate through their schools’ art classes, create original hand-drawn artwork to complement the Department’s ongoing advertising and outreach campaign: “Child Support. It’s more than just money.”  Winners are selected based upon their interpretation of the year’s theme and their work is included in a calendar that is compiled and distributed every year.

For this year’s contest, the challenge to students was to illustrate the ways in which their parent(s) have instilled the importance of community service and being a well-rounded student.  The topic is relevant because of communities’ recent outreach to friends and neighbors who have been impacted by the economy and/or effects of natural disasters.

“This year’s theme was especially meaningful and timely for us,” said DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Our department works with individuals and families who are economically insecure on a daily basis. In addition, we’ve been working closely with residents who were displaced or otherwise impacted by Superstorm Sandy. We recognize the importance of community service in supporting people in need.” 

“The artwork submissions contained numerous illustrations of parents and their children participating in local events,” said Jeanette Page-Hawkins, Division of Family Development director.  “With this year’s theme, we gave young people the opportunity to think about where community service fits into family life and how parents’ values are reflected in the activities they choose to involve their families in.”

Winner in the high school category:

•           First place, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Piscataway High School

•           Second place, Christa Pieper, Piscataway High School

•           Third place, Alexandra Pietsch, Ewing High School

Winners in the middle school category:

•           First place, Carrie Zhang, John H. Walker Middle School, Nutley

•           Second place, Timothy Scherer, Monroe Township Middle School

•           Third place, Sophia Jeon, Schuyler-Colfax Middle School, Wayne

Each winner received a U.S. Savings Bond, a plaque of achievement and a pair of day passes to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.  All winning entries will be displayed in the Statehouse Annex Tunnel from May 20th through 24th.

For more information about this program or the New Jersey Office of Child Support Services, please call 1-877-NJKIDS1 or log onto

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