Alyssa Hetzler, of the MOT Charter School, has taken the first step to becoming an internationally-recognized artist by winning a local competition sponsored by the Middletown Lions Club.

Her poster was selected from the top entries from MOT Charter School and St. Anne’s Episcopal School as the winner of the local Peace Poster Contest, and her poster will advance to the next level of competition.

Alyssa's work was among more than 600,000 entries submitted in the 29th annual event sponsored by Lions International to emphasize the importance of world peace to young people throughout the world.

Alyssa's inspiration for the poster was "Creating World Peace," the 12 year old from Middletown said.

Her work was selected by the administrators and faculty of the MOT Charter School for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the contest theme, "A Celebration of Peace."

Alyssa placed first, while Yussra Salim finished second at the school.

Students from Saint Anne’s Episcopal School also entered the contest. Winners at Saint Anne's School were Farah Eljazzar in first place and Shay Wilson in second place.

The first and second place winners of both schools were presented with a monetary award at the Middletown Lions Club November meeting at Grotto's Pizza.

Members of the Middletown Lions Club chose the one winning poster to be submitted to the district level.

All participating students were honored with a certificate of appreciation in their respective schools by the Middletown Lions Club.

Club President John Drulik Jr. said he was impressed by the expression and creativity of the students at the MOT Charter School and Saint Anne's Episcopal School.

"It is obvious that these young people have strong ideas about what peace means to them. I'm so proud that we were able to provide them with the opportunity to share their visions,” Drulik said. "Alyssa's poster will advance to face stiff competition through the district, multiple district and international rounds of competition if she is to be declared the international prize winner."

One grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners will be selected. The grand prize includes a cash award of $5,000, plus a trip for the winner and two family members to an award ceremony. The 23 merit award winners each receive a cash award of $500.

The Middletown club members are cheering for Alyssa as her poster advances in the competition, and we hope that her vision will be ultimately shared with others around the world.

The club would like to thank the art teacher of the MOT Charter School, Ms. Bernadette DeLong, and the art teacher of Saint Anne's School, Ms. AmyBeth Sherman, for their assistance in working with their students.

View international grand prize and merit winners at www.lionsclubs.org.

Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service organization with 1.4 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographic areas. In additional to it efforts toward conquering blindness, the organization has made a strong commitment to community service and helping youth throughout the world.

The Middletown Lions Club holds a meeting the fourth Monday of each month at Grotto's Pizza in the Middletown Auto Park, at 6:30 p.m. Guests are welcome. Please call (302) 378-7202 if you would like to attend a meeting.