Nicole Prantow, a sixth grade student at Tamaqua Area Middle School, has taken the first step to becoming an internationally recognized artist by winning a local competition sponsored by the Tamaqua Lions Club.

Prantow's poster was among more than 375,000 entries submitted worldwise in the 22nd annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest. Lions Clubs International is sponsoring the contest to emphasize the importance of world peace to young people everywhere.

"The world has to realize that different architecture in other countries is important to them," the 11-year-old from Tamaqua said. The poster was selected by Lion Tim Stahl, Lion Fran Stahl, Lion Andy Leibenguth, Lion Darlene Martin, Leo President Victoria Stahl, and Dina Depos for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the contest theme, "The Power of Peace." The judging was held on Nov. 3 at the Chamber of Commerce Office in Tamaqua.

Tamaqua Lions Club President Steve Bayer said he was impressed by the expression and creativity of the students in the Tamaqua School District.

"It is obvious that these young people have strong ideas about what peace means to them," said Bayer. "I'm so proud that we were able to provide them with the opportunity to share their visions."

"Nicole Prantow'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 grand prize winner," Bayer added.

One grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners will be selected. The grand prize includes a cash award of $2,500 plus a trip for the winner and two family members to New York City for the awards ceremony at Lions Day with the United Nations. The 23 merit award winners will each receive a certificate and a cash award of $500.

"Our club is cheering for Nicole as her poster advances in the competition, and we hope that her vision will ultimately be shared with others around the world," Bayer said.

Locally, Prantow and seven other students were presented with a gift for their participation. Prantow and her parents will be invited to attend the next Tamaqua Lions Club meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at the Elks Club in Tamaqua, where she will be awarded a special certificate for her entry.

View international grand prize and merit award winners at www.lionsclubs.org [3].