Avery Cook, a fourth grade student at Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay is the winner of his division of the 2021 Lyme Disease Awareness Poster Contest. Art teacher Tammy Lindsey teaches about ticks and Lyme disease then has her students draw posters as a community service. Since Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services and Center for Disease Control and Prevention began the contest in 2010, one of Lindsey’s students has won the contest for their grade division. Submitted photo

JAY — Avery Cook, a fourth grade student at Spruce Mountain Elementary School is a winner in the 2021 Lyme Disease Awareness 12th Annual K-8 Poster Contest.

Even more notable, in the 12 years since Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services and Center for Disease Control and Prevention began the contest, a student of art teacher Tammy Lindsey has won for their grade division.

Cook’s poster was selected by the State of Maine CDC to be the poster that will educate the public at State parks this summer, Lindsey wrote in an email Monday, May 17. Each year she teaches about tick borne illness and students are asked to create an educational poster on how to keep safe from ticks, she continued.

“The project is our community service project for the year,” Lindsey wrote. “Avery is so excited that his poster got chosen to be displayed at the state parks!

“Avery loves to play hockey, build LEGOs, draw, and listen to music,” she noted. “He is always creating something, whether it’s a new LEGO scene, a song he has written, or a new board game he has created. He is always creating and using his imagination!”

Cook will receive a state park pass for a day for his family to go to any state park of their choosing, Lindsey indicated. He and his classmates will receive a tick removal kit from the Maine CDC, Lindsey noted and she will also be giving a $20 gift certificate for Cook to use on Artsonia to pick out a gift with his art work on it.


“Perhaps, we will see Avery wearing a t-shirt with his poster design on it,” Lindsey wrote. “All students at Spruce Mountain Elementary School have a digital art portfolio on Artsonia.”

Visit https://www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=51464 to see the SMES art gallery.

“Avery’s family can’t wait to visit a state park (or 2 or all) to see his poster displayed,” Lindsey wrote. “He is also pretty excited about the tick kits and how everyone in his class gets one!”

“I used watercolor paints because they are bright and that is what you should wear if you go hiking or outside so you can see if ticks get on you,” Cook told Lindsey. “And always use bug spray and check for ticks when you are done playing outside.”

According to Maine DHHS, the contest theme this year was “Stop. Check. Prevent.” Posters needed to illustrate the importance of tick awareness in preventing Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Drawings, graphic designs, and photography entries could be used.

Posters were to illustrate at least one of the four approaches to personal prevention: use caution in tick-infested areas, use an EPA-approved repellent, wear protective clothing and/or perform daily tick checks both visibly and by touch. They also needed to be creative, colorful, and easily seen from a distance.

In most of the last few years a state winner was chosen for three divisions: grades two/three, four/five, and six to eight. In 2019 the divisions were Kindergarten/grade one, grades two/three, and four/five.

Last year SMES fifth grade student Mikenna Phillips was a winner. In 2019, third grade student Alaina Kachnovich and fourth grade student Natasha McDonald won in their divisions.

The state notified division winner’s schools on or before May 21 but has not released public information on this year’s winners.

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