Print 9-year-old girl wins centennial postcard contest
Written by Greg Ruland   
Sunday, 25 December 2011 00:00

A 9-year-old Cottonwood girl won $150 for her class after the postcard she designed to commemorate Arizona’s Centennial won a contest that saw 2,200 student entries, Yavapai County Superintendent Tim Carter told the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District Governing Board on Dec. 13.

Joanna Westling, a fifth-grader at Mountain View Preparatory, won the contest sponsored by the Yavapai County Centennial Committee for her sun-filled panorama featuring the letters A and Z festooned with saguaro cactus, evergreens and a rattlesnake.

Mary Liggit, center, the organizer of the Yavapai Centennial Committee’s Student Centennial Card Contest, talks to the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District Governing Board about why the committee chose Mountain View Preparatory Academy fifth-grader Joanna Westling’s design at a board meeting  Dec. 13. Liggit was joined by Westling, second from left, Yavapai County Schools Superintendent Tim Carter, left, Westling’s teacher, Teresa Rose, second from right, and Patty Pike, a representative from a local credit union which provided the $150 prize to Rose’s classroom.Westling’s colorful design covered all the bases because it highlighted the years of Arizona’s statehood, 1912 to 2012, all wrapped up in a yellow, orange and red holiday theme.

“The design really is great,” COCSD Superintendent Barbara U’Ren said. “Joanna did a tremendous job of capturing what Arizona is all about.”

Several hundred of Westling’s cards will be printed by the county for sale in time for Christmas. In addition, Westling’s design, like all of the 2,200 submitted, will receive on Tuesday, Feb. 14, a first-day postmark bearing the centennial’s commemorative stamp. The state celebrates its 100th anniversary of statehood on that day.

Carter presented the check for $150 to Westling, her teacher Terry Rose, and Cottonwood’s representative on the centennial committee, Mary Liggit, during a ceremony at the start of the Dec. 14 board meeting.

The money will be put to good use. The class might have preferred a pizza party, but “they’re getting science and history tests instead,” Rose said.

The contest was Liggit’s idea. Originally, she proposed the design be placed on envelopes, sometimes referred to as caches, but the card turned out to be a better fit because the county already operates a contest to select the winning design for a Christmas card each year.

This year, instead of a Christmas card, the contest revolved around a design for the centennial, Carter said,

“I decided we needed a project that would be something special for every student in the county,” Liggit said. “I want to thank the superintendent’s office for making that possible.”

“I’m thrilled to have one of the winners to have come from right here in Cottonwood,” she said. “Congratulations, Joanna.”

“Not too bad for a girl born in Maine,” Joanna’s mother Casey Westling said. “She’s been very creative all her life.”

Youngest in a family of 11 children, Joanna distinguished herself by her drawing and painting, Casey Westling said.

“She has a natural gift and proclivity,” Joanna’s father, David Edison, said.

The winning entry was not her initial attempt. She tore the first one up and threw it away, Joanna Westling said.

In all, Westling worked on the design for nearly four hours, Rose said.

Westling won the category for students in fifth through eighth grades. Other winners included Tyler Nelson, a fourth-grader from Hicks School, who won the kindergarten through fourth grade category; and, Anastasia Bryce, a 10th-grader from Chino Valley High School who won the high school category.