CENTREVILLE — The Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office invites students annually to help promote peacemaking by submitting artwork for the 16th annual Conflict Resolution Day Bookmark Art Contest.

The contest is open to all Maryland students in kindergarten through eighth grade to help celebrate national Conflict Resolution Month in October and Conflict Resolution Day on Oct. 21, 2021.

This is a contest Queen Anne’s County Public Schools media specialists have been entering annually and for the third year straight their students swept the state awards winning a first place, second place, third place and five additional honorable mentions in K–2 and 3–5 prize categories.

For the contest, students were asked to create bookmarks with the theme of resolving or preventing conflicts. Topics included anything from peer mediation, respecting differences, talking things out, solving problems together, listening, inclusion, to creating alternatives to violence.

Sharon Murdoch, media specialist at Bayside Elementary had multiple winners this year.

“Peaceful conflict resolution is a crucial skill that is needed now more than ever,” Murdoch said. “I love how the contest gives me an opportunity to talk about this with students and help them learn to be peacemakers, and they love the opportunity to share in such a creative way what they have learned with an authentic audience. I look forward to this contest every year, and I’m so proud of my students!”

Chrissy Clow, media specialist at Matapeake Elementary, shared similar sentiments and saw something special in the artwork of her second place award-winner.

“The principles of conflict resolution are so important,” Clow said. “The students took these strategies and ran with them. Every student had an amazing bookmark, but I remember Aliya’s standing out to me. Her artwork is so unique and the message she shared was inspiring.”

Katelyn Giardini, new media specialist at Grasonville Elementary, was also beaming with pride. “I am very proud of Eleanor and Sarah for receiving honorable mention awards. Their craftsmanship and creativity within their bookmarks reflect the hard work and dedication they display in the Media Center. They are talented young artists and great students,” she said.

Winning students, their families and their teachers were invited to an awards ceremony on Dec. 8 at the Maryland Judicial Center in Annapolis where they were celebrated by Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty. Submissions were judged on both artistic merit and their conflict resolution or prevention message. Student originality is welcomed.

For each age group, the prize awards are $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place. A selection of winning entries will be printed and distributed throughout Maryland to promote conflict resolution. Winners whose bookmarks are selected for printing will receive copies of their own printed entry.

“The annual Conflict Resolution Day bookmark contest is a wonderful way to engage children in learning through art about resolving conflicts appropriately and peacefully,” said Judge Getty. “The contest has garnered more than 10,000 entries over its 16-year history.”

Danielle Lowe, new media specialist at Kent Island Elementary, had a first place award-winner and discussed how important school libraries are to schools.

“What many people don’t realize is that school libraries offer much more to their students and staff than just books,” Lowe said. “The media center is the heart of the school where everyone has an opportunity to get their creative juices flowing and find something that interests them. They can tinker and create with a makerspace activity. They can build robots, read about animals, work collaboratively with their classmates, design and publish their own comic strip with our many digital tools, and so much more. There’s no place I’d rather be than teaching in the library.”

“This contest has become a game changer for our students and school library media specialists. They do such an amazing job and it helps spread the perfect message of peace and love as we head into the holidays. Congrats to all our winners,” said Michael Bell, supervisor, Queen Anne’s County Public Schools.

List of 2021 QACPS statewide award winners, and their teachers:

Rhys Goodloe, Grade 2, Kent Island Elementary (1st place, K-2)

Danielle Lowe, media specialist, KIES

Aliya Nicholls, Grade 2, Matapeake Elementary (2nd place, K-2)

Chrissy Clow, media specialist, MES

Brenden Nguyan, Grade 4, Bayside Elementary (3rd place, 3-5)

Melody Ellis, Grade 3, Bayside Elementary (Honorable Mention, 3-5)

Maximos Piquero, Grade 5, Bayside Elementary (Honorable Mention, 3-5)

Amelia Martinez, Grade 5, Bayside Elementary (Honorable Mention, 3-5)

Sharon Murdoch, media specialist, BES

Sarah Baird, Grade 2, Grasonville Elementary (Honorable Mention, K-2)

Eleanor Bradley, Grade 5, Grasonville Elementary (Honorable Mention, 3-5)

Katelyn Giardini, media specialist, GES

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