Ryan and his classmates entered the Anything Goes SpaghettiOs poster contest earlier this spring, sponsored by parent company Campbell Soup Co. His winning entry on the theme "When I Grow Up!" was a poster of himself as an architect, depicting his hands drafting a house blueprint.
Ryan was one of three finalists out of 35,000 entries from around America, said Beth Jolly, manager of brand communications at Campbell. Students from Olathe, Kan. and Chattanooga, Tenn. also submitted winning entries.
Ryan won a $500 gift certificate for a shopping spree, which he has not decided how to spend. In addition, each finalist's school had the opportunity to participate in an unusual contest, the Million Label Toss.
PS 205 Principal Susan Sherer was invited to toss a beanbag into a 9-foot-tall replica of a SpaghettiOs can on June 2 at the school. By successfully making the shot, Sherer won her school 1 million Labels for Education, which can redeemed through Campbell for sports, music and computer equipment. Ryan also received 10,000 Labels for Education for his school.
"We have a feeling it's about $18,000 to $20,000 in redeemable coupons," Sherer said. "We were looking at musical instruments, physical education kinds of equipment. We were looking for things that would involve the children. We don't really have a large music program, so that was something the parents were interested in. I probably will talk to the students about it, though they may be more interested in the sports equipment."
Sherer said her school often enters these types of contests.
"I really believe that children have the ability to be creative in so many ways. They submit (to contests) all the time, and we win tremendous amounts of contests," she said. "It's very ego-boosting for the children." She added that this was the largest prize the school had received.
"Our schools are very loyal, so they participate all the time in the program. We see a lot of the same schools participating every year," Jolly said. "Each year we refresh the program and put out a new contest. We try to do something different every year, so that schools that participate every year will have something new."
She added, "This year was one of the most popular contests yet."
Ryan said he wants to be an architect because he likes the combination of skills required for the profession. "I like art and models; the mixture of it would become the job of architects," he said. Ryan, who is 8 years old and lives in Bayside, said when he plays with Legos, he builds houses and that Leonardo Da Vinci is his favorite architect.
In addition, Ryan's classmate Stephanie Chen won third place in the poster contest for her entry picturing her as a figure skater like her role model, Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan. Stephanie won 100 labels that will go to the school as well. When asked what her school should get with the more than 1 million labels it now has, she said, "something that they really need."
The school can trade in the labels for 25 student flutes, 1,122 rubber chickens, 962 footballs or 12 Apple computers, among other offerings on the Labels for Education Web site.
"We'll sit down and see what we need the most and have a good time buying," Sherer said. "We'll indulge ourselves. We're a small school in a wonderful community, but we don't really get much money to buy special things for the school."
Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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