By Kelli Gile
Walnut–Walnut Elementary fifth grader Michael Wu has been named the grand prize winner in the National Missing Children’s Day poster contest.
The talented 11-year-old’s entry in the “Bring Our Missing Children Home” competition depicts the silhouette of a young boy hugging his teddy bear.
“It shows that the child feels lonely and he wants to be back home,” Michael explained.
The annual competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice to create awareness and promote child safety.
Michael was named the 1st place winner in California. His original artwork was then submitted for the national judging.
“It feels awesome!” the soft-spoken student said about receiving the national award.
Teacher Seema Bagai was happily “shocked” after learning the news that her student took the top prize.
“I am thrilled for Michael and can’t wait to celebrate with him in Washington D.C. later this month!”
Michael learned about the contest from his mom, Wendy, an art teacher at the school. He quickly decided to pull out his paint brushes for a good cause.
“I wanted to help find missing children!”
Michael used colored pencils in shades of brown to bring life to the cuddly teddy bear. To achieve a splattered shadow around the outline of the child, he flicked dark green paint from an old toothbrush.
Michael, along with his parents, and teacher have been awarded a trip to Washington D.C. to be recognized during the National Missing Children’s Day ceremony on May 25. This ceremony honors the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.
The young artist also took 1st place in the fifth grade category of the Walnut Valley Water District 2016 Water Awareness Month Poster Contest. Michael is a back-to-back winner and his entire class will be visiting the Three Valleys Municipal Water District Miramar Treatment Plant for a tour and pizza lunch.