West Sweeps Meth Art Contest

Leanza Toves

Leanza Toves

Five area students recently were announced as winners of Hawaii Meth Project’s 2014 “Break the Ice” art contest, nearly sweeping the competition.

The third annual contest invited middle and high school students throughout the state to submit art for this year’s theme, “Cherish.”

“The goal of the ‘Break the Ice’ art contest is to engage Hawaii’s youths to think about the dangers of methamphetamine in a more complete and creative way,” explained Julie Nguyen, Hawaii Meth Project program coordinator.

“Ultimately, the purpose of this program is to continue to open up dialogue about meth prevention and emphasize the benefits of leading a drug-free lifestyle.”

In the Traditional & Digital Art category for grades 7-9, winners were Kapolei Middle School eighth-grader Leanza Toves, seventh-grader Melia LaFleur and eighth-grader Leya Leliaert in first, second and third place, respectively.

For her piece “Mirror, Mirror,” Toves also was declared winner of the People’s Choice Award. The win, she said, came after continuously sharing her drawing and encouraging friends and family to do the same on Facebook.

“They got behind me and the message that I was trying to convey, and gave me the boost I needed to win this award,” said Toves.

For her entry, Toves strived to answer the question: “What if a meth user could see the consequences of their choices reflected in front of them in a mirror?”

“I used the concept of the mirror in Snow White as a jumping-off point and did my best to portray the harmful effects of meth use,” she said. “My teacher, Mr. Daryle Mishina, helped me to develop the idea and create the piece.”

In the Traditional and Digital Art category for grades 10-12, Kapolei High School junior Nicole Jane Tagalicud took first place for “Don’t Give Any Time To Meth,” while Campbell High School senior Ciara Mariel Batulan took third place with “Life is Short.” Tagalicud also won the Sticker Design category for “Meth is Death.”

The judges’ panel for this year’s competition included Michele Navarro Ishiki, Mrs. Kaneohe 2014; youth urban artist Akira1; and Allison Wong, deputy director at Honolulu Museum of Art.

“The posters that were selected as winners had a great sense of composition, excellent artistic skills and a solid message that would deter kids from getting involved with meth,” declared Wong.

Ideal submissions for its “Break the Ice” art contest conveyed its “Not Even Once” message through traditional and contemporary art. To gather inspiration for the contest, contestants were encouraged to visit Hawaii Meth Project’s website. There, they were able to view more than 350 pieces of content, which included facts, personal stories, information from experts and more.

“It’s a process that encourages understanding of the highly detrimental nature of meth and is rooted in education,” explained Nguyen.

Hawaii Meth Project seeks to prevent the use of methamphetamine with research-based campaigns in the community.

For more information, visit hawaiimethproject.org.