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TRENTON – May 11, 2016 – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today honored six New Jersey high school and middle school students at an event hosted by its Division of Family Development’s Office of Child Support Services. The students were honored for their winning entries in this year’s Teen Media Contest, which acknowledged and celebrated the value and diversity of family.

The contest uses the topic of family to engage high school and middle school students in creative thinking through art.  Students, under the guidance of their school’s art faculty, create original handmade artwork to complement the Department’s ongoing advertising and outreach campaign: “Child Support. It’s more than just money.”  Winners are chosen based upon their interpretation of the year’s theme, with the winning artwork and a select number of “honorable mention” pieces included in the annual Child Support calendar published every year. Last year’s winners and honorable mentions can be viewed online.

“This year’s theme sought to capture artistic impressions of how past generations of family influence or contribute to today’s families,” said DHS Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly. “This year’s artwork clearly shows the enthusiasm of the students to illustrate how families can and have made positive contributions to society.”

The challenge to students was to illustrate the way in which “families grow through generations.” This theme builds on a family’s background and allows for expression of what past generations meant to the present generations today.

“We are amazed, year after year, on how the students  interpret  the annual theme and create some beautiful artwork. Each of the countless entries we receive every year contain unique illustrations of parents and their children, reminding us that although every family has its own traditions and unique personalities, an encouraging hug, a bedtime story, a shared meal  all are rituals common to so many families. ,” said Natasha Johnson, Division of Family Development Director. 

Winners in the high school category:

  • First place, Courtney Culp, Piscataway High School - Piscataway
  • Second place, Jamie Ramos, Piscataway High School - Piscataway
  • Third place, Samra Shakeel, Union County Vocational High School - Scotch Plains

Winners in the middle school category:

  • First place, Eden Quan, Heritage Middle School - Livingston
  • Second place, Karen Hu, Heritage Middle School - Livingston
  • Third place, Manvver Kaui, Academy 1 Middle School – Jersey City

In addition to having their artwork featured in the 2017 calendar, each winner receives a plaque of achievement, an American Express gift card, 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 16-20.

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

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