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May 11, 2006

Southern Illinois Fifth-Grader Wins National Award for Drawing Unique Vision for Transportation Safety
Work to be shown in 40,000 Work Zone Safety Calendars Across Illinois

MADISON, IL-The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is recognizing 11-year-old Dennis Hampton II, of Madison for placing third in the National American Traffic Safety Services Foundation (ATSSA) Calendar Contest by awarding him $50 in addition to the prizes already won at the state level.  His drawing is of a bridge under construction and he urges drivers to slow down in a Work Zone.  Hampton is the son of Dennis Hampton and attends Blair Elementary School in Madison.

His work will appear in thousands of calendars, which will be distributed at IDOT work zone safety events across the state.  In March, upon winning first place in the Illinois Calendar Contest, Hampton was awarded a $1,000 savings bond.  

“Our congratulations go to Dennis Hampton for placing third in the National Calendar Contest.  It is so important for children at a young age to think about work zone safety issues," said IDOT Secretary Martin.  "We are proud that so many children participated in a fun, creative contest and we are especially excited to have a winner from Illinois.”

The Illinois State Board of Education and IDOT joined ATSSA to coordinate the statewide calendar contest to promote work zone safety by introducing children at an early age to safe driving techniques.  The idea is to instill a lifelong awareness of work zone hazards and foster safe driving behavior in the future.  Children were asked to draw their view of a work zone. 

“Dennis is a model 5th grade student with concerns for his fellow students and the community,” said Blair Elementary Principal Terrien Fennoy.  “He has excelled in several subjects and works closely with the Art teacher, Mr. Sherrill Byrd for guidance.  We are very proud of Dennis and his accomplishments.”

Over 1,500 students from 89 different schools participated in the Illinois calendar contest.  The public was invited to vote on-line for their favorite entry.  More than 8,000 people cast their votes on the IDOT website.

Students in kindergarten through sixth-grade in public elementary schools around the state were eligible to participate in this contest.  There are two categories:  kindergarten through third- grade, and fourth through sixth-grade.

IDOT has worked to encourage students and their parents or caregivers to become aware of the importance of driving safely in work zones.  The top 16 finalists from Illinois have their entries on the IDOT website.  The top 16 finalist drawings can be viewed at www.dot.il.gov/trafficsafety/WZS/ContestResults.html



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