a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fake tree wins newspaper contest

McGuffey High School didn’t quite follow the primary rule for a contest that challenged students to turn a standard newspaper vending machine into public art.

Yet the school in Washington County, Pa., walked away with first prize among the 14 that entered the contest sponsored by the Observer-Reporter.

The rules, among other things, required a design that would survive the outdoors in a climate known for gray skies and rain. McGuffey students surrounded their metal box with a sculpture of a fragile-looking tree with a newspaper kite stuck in paper leaves covered in clear plastic.

While students coated the thing with outdoor sealant, the newspaper is looking for location to park it indoors over doubts that it’ll survive hurricane-force winds like those the region sustained last month.

It did survive the trip from the school to mall in the bed of a pickup truck traveling 40 mph, losing just three leaves," McGuffey art teacher Pam Bubash said.

Bubash told her kids to "think outside the box" and enter something different because the rest of the schools would likely just paint things on theirs. And she was right.

She suggested her students design a concept for their box around William Holmes McGuffey, a Claysville, Pa., native and author of the McGuffey Readers, one of America's first series of textbooks that became widely popular in the 1800s. But they opted, instead, for tree because newspapers are printed on paper made from trees. They used old newspapers for construction to also make a statement about the importance of recycling.

Local artists and newspaper representatives judged the contest, taking into consideration the amount of money each entrant earned in donations when their designs debuted over a recent weekend at Washington Crown Center mall.

“The schools loved it,” said Jasmine Blussick, who organizes corporate events at the Washington newspaper. “The parents loved it. The kids thought it was the best thing.”

Some employees of the small-town paper aren’t sure what to make of the entry that features a rat nibbling one of its daily editions. But chances are that school will still be invited to enter the contest again next year.

McGuffey’s art department will receive a $500 prize for winning what has to be the slicking promotion the newspaper has come up with in years.

No comments: