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DUI Taskforce billboard features art by Hamilton middle schooler

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The poster art of a Hamilton Middle School student is on a billboard near U.S. Highway 93 north of Woodside where it will remain for three months thanks to the Ravalli County DUI Taskforce Art Contest.

The creative efforts of eighth-grade student Lauren MacGillivray, 14, for Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 23–31, with the theme of “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free” was chosen by the DUI Task Force from 40 submissions.

DUI Task Force Coordinator Glenda Wiles said the goal is always to encourage children, families and the community in making positive choices for healthy, happy and drug-free lives.

“Our pick of Lauren's artwork came from her depiction and appreciation of Ravalli County's wildlife and natural beauty, and living life to its fullest...being drug-free allows us to be happy and truly enjoy it,” Wiles said. “We liked Lauren’s the best as it reflects where we live, it’s cool and it fits.”

MacGillivray said she was surprised to be chosen.

“My sister is a really good artist but I have no art in me,” she said. “This was fun for my health class at school. I like being outside.”

Her art poster designs shows trees supporting a hammock, two hikers going up a tall peak, a bicycle and sunshine.

“I like photography,” MacGillivray said. “My dad is a photographer.”

She has entered her photographs in the Ravalli County Fair and is thinking about photography as a career.

Wiles said there were fewer entries this year due to COVID but that the art contest netted some winners of door decorating with the classes receiving pizza parties and one winner for the billboard.

The billboard is sponsored by Ravalli County DUI Task Force and Western Montana Mental Health.

Prevention Specialist Ryan Wetzel said it is motivating for him to collaborate with other organizations in the county.

"We want to encourage and reward good behavior,” Wetzel said. “We want to support the cause of sending a positive message to the folks in Ravalli County. The kids were excellent in participating!”

Wetzel said he thanked the local schools, educators and professionals who helped make the Ravalli County DUI Taskforce art contest possible.

“From Glenda Wiles, the DUI Task Force members and myself, we were happy to be a part of it,” Wetzel said.

Ravalli County DUI Task Force’s mission is to “promote a healthier and safer environment for county residents by reducing the number of alcohol/drug-related traffic crashes and underage drinking as well as increasing seat belt usage through public education, awareness, legislation, enforcement and collaborative strategies.”

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