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Davis students win Clean Air art contest

The Clean Air Campaign recently presented several Davis Middle School students with awards for their work in the third annual Young Lungs at Work statewide art competition. Pictured with Gretchen Gigley, Clean Air Schools director of Education, far left, and Lesley Carter, Clean Air Schools Communications Manager, far right, are students, from left, Raegan Owen, first-place winner; Delaney Willette, third-place winner; and honorable mentions, Ariana Johnson and Nathaniel Buck.

The Clean Air Campaign recently presented several Davis Middle School students with awards for their work in the third annual Young Lungs at Work statewide art competition. Pictured with Gretchen Gigley, Clean Air Schools director of Education, far left, and Lesley Carter, Clean Air Schools Communications Manager, far right, are students, from left, Raegan Owen, first-place winner; Delaney Willette, third-place winner; and honorable mentions, Ariana Johnson and Nathaniel Buck.

CONYERS -- Several Rockdale County students recently placed in a contest by the Clean Air Campaign, including a first-place win.

The Clean Air Campaign named 12-year-old Raegan Owen, a sixth-grader from Gen. Ray Davis Middle School, as the middle school winner in the third annual Young Lungs at Work statewide art competition.

Owen created a comic strip, called Waiting for the Bell, in which she asks her mom not to idle the car while waiting to pick her up from school.

Emery Wahlen, a fifth-grader from Kittredge Magnet School in Atlanta, won first place in the elementary division for a comic strip depicting students walking to school in order to reduce pollution from cars, and Jaimie Shing, a senior from Northview High School in Johns Creek, won first place in a newly created T-shirt category for high school students in which she drew a detailed drawing of a set of young lungs.

"It's very gratifying to see our future leaders are so excited about improving air quality. With so many great entries this year, picking winners was a difficult task," said Gretchen Gigley, director of education for The Clean Air Campaign.

The contest, which kicked off in January, invited students in kindergarten through eighth grades to develop original comic strips and high school students to create original T-shirt designs. All entrants were charged with illustrating the positive effects that taking the bus to school, turning off an idling car engine or carpooling to school can have on Georgia's air quality.

The winners were selected from the more than 300 entries received.

Davis Middle School students nearly swept the middle school division.

Sixth-grader Delaney Willette placed third with her project, Car Pooling; seventh-grader Ariana Johnson received an honorable mention for her work, The Dream; and seventh-grader Nathaniel Buck also received an honorable mention for his comic, Jenny and the Polar Bear.

Two other students, from Colquitt and Sandy Springs, also placed in the middle school division; five were named in the elementary competition and three were named in the high school competition.

The Clean Air Campaign presented awards to students last week during Air Quality Awareness Week. The Campaign and Gov. Nathan Deal kicked off Air Quality Awareness Week to educate Georgians about the health effects of air pollution and the meaningful actions they can take to improve outdoor air quality.

Davis Middle School also received $400 donation that will fund supplies for its art program, ran by teacher Katy King.

All winning entries will be featured on The Clean Air Campaign's website and social media channels.

The Clean Air Campaign works throughout the school year with Georgia schools to empower students and parents to take action for clean air within their school community. More than 300 Clean Air Schools participate in one or more of the following programs: No-Idling Program, Pool to School, Get There Green and Ride the Bus! For Clean Air, which are interactive programs that help students learn that it is their actions that pave the way for positive change in air quality.

More information about how traffic and vehicle emissions impact Georgia's air quality or to register to become a Clean Air School is available at CleanAirCampaign.org.

The Clean Air Campaign is a not-for-profit organization that works with Georgia employers, commuters and K-12 schools to encourage actions that result in better air quality and less traffic congestion.