2017-11-30 / Life in Leelanau

Poster Girls

St. Mary duo places first, second in Leelanau Conservation District poster contest
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


KATIE WALTER and Addie Leiby, who are both third-graders at St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau, took first and second place in the Leelanau Conservation District annual poster contest. KATIE WALTER and Addie Leiby, who are both third-graders at St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau, took first and second place in the Leelanau Conservation District annual poster contest. Katie Walter, 9, and Addie Leiby, 8, are best friends and they both want to be art teachers when they grow up.

So it may come as no surprise that the St. Mary third-graders took first and second place locally in this year’s Leelanau Conservation District poster contest.

Katie’s poster took first place and was sent on for judging at the state level, where it also took first place. It now faces competition at the national level.

Katie found out that she was Michigan’s third-grade winner when her mom got a video on her phone.

“My mom tried to wake me up, but she couldn’t get me up, so she had to wait until morning,” Katie said. “Nothing can wake me up once I’m good and asleep.”


THIS DRAWING by St. Mary third-grader Katie Walter took first place at the Leelanau Conservation District’s annual poster contest and in the state, where it competed with works by second and third graders across Michigan. THIS DRAWING by St. Mary third-grader Katie Walter took first place at the Leelanau Conservation District’s annual poster contest and in the state, where it competed with works by second and third graders across Michigan. When she finally did get the news she was really excited, she said.

Katie is the daughter of Anne and Bruce Walter; Anne teaches sixth and seventh grade language arts at St. Mary.

Anne said this is the first contest Katie has ever entered.

“I was proud of her for entering and I didn’t have any expectations,” Anne said. “I was very pleased that all her hard work paid off.”

Addie is the daughter of Cynthia and Charlie Leiby.

Addie said she was not surprised that she won.

“Because my mom always says I’m really good at art and everyone in my class always likes my art,” Addie said.

Katie said she and her dad brainstormed ideas for her poster. The theme of the contest was Healthy Soils are Full of Life and Katie’s poster is a drawing of growing flowers.

“I chose that one because I liked it the best,” she said.

The annual Conservation District contest was open to all K-12 students in Leelanau County and is meant to get kids excited about science and nature.

Buzz Long, executive director of the Conservation District, said Katie’s poster was a stand-out.

“Of all the posters entered locally, her poster was the clear winner,” Long said. “She fully grasped the concept of soil being important every day with her picture of healthy soils bringing flowers to life.”

Katie’s first place win came with a $60 prize, while Addie’s came with $10.

Katie hasn’t yet spent hers.

“I’m just probably going to hang onto it for awhile until I find something I really want,” she said. “My parents want me to save it, but I said ‘no.’”

Addie has spent $3 of her winnings so far on “Toca Boca,” a video game.

While the girls have a long way to go before deciding on a career, Katie already knows she wants to be an art teacher. Her love of art is what inspired her to enter the contest.

“I just like drawing and using all the different shades of colors,” she said. “I just really like it.”

Addie also wants to be an art teacher, but she plans to combine her teaching career with being a veterinarian.

“I’ll do some days as an art teacher and some days as a vet,” Addie said. “It’ll be hard, but it will be well worth it.”

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