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Young artists honored for Street Smarts entries

Annual poster contest draws 523 submissions about importance of helmets

Eleven budding artists were honored on March 12 at the 10th annual Street Smarts Storybook Poster Contest Awards Ceremony, held at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center in San Ramon.

The event drew more than 400 students and community members. San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson, Danville Councilman Newell Arnerich, Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board President Rachel Hurd and Sunset Development Co. vice president of planning Chris Truebridge took turns presenting the awards.

In all, 523 young people submitted entries to the Storybook Poster Contest, based on a story for elementary school-aged children created by local author Dana Mentink about traffic safety.

Children choose one to three pages to illustrate, in the hopes that their drawing will be chosen for the storybook. This year's theme was the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bike, skateboard or scooter.

This is the 10th year of the San Ramon Valley Street Smarts Poster Contest, which is sponsored by Sunset Development Company.

The Awards Ceremony began at 5 p.m., with former professional cyclist Steven Cozza serving as master of ceremonies. Cozza shared photos of himself riding his bike and even of him after a crash, stressing that helmets have saved his life many times.

This year's winners were:

* Cover: Darpan Singh, Grade 3, Coyote Creek Elementary School

* Page 1: Daphne Chan, Grade 3, Tassajara Hills Elementary School

* Page 2: Phedora Layanto, Grade 5, Montevideo Elementary School

* Page 3: Alexandra Ren, Grade 4, Montevideo Elementary School

* Page 4: Aishwarya Agashe, Grade 2, Quail Run Elementary School

* Page 5: Eric Huang, Grade 5, Creekside Elementary School

* Page 6: Aditya Pachpande, Grade 2, Montevideo Elementary School

* Page 7: Pari Saluja, Grade 3, Country Club Elementary School

* Page 8: Chloe Chan, Grade 5, Tassajara Hills Elementary School

* Page 9: Sumukh Cadpakar, Grade 5, Quail Run Elementary School

* Page 10: Rishika Vinnakota, Grade 5, Montair Elementary School

The storybook will be distributed to thousands of San Ramon Valley children as a tool to teach traffic safety.

"Since 2008, over 35,000 copies of Street Smarts storybooks have been given to local children," said Cathy DeLuca, Street Smarts coordinator. "That's the power of having a Storybook Poster Contest instead of just a Poster Contest --- not only do the participants learn the traffic safety concepts, but then those concepts are shared with the thousands of other children who read the book."

Starting this week, complimentary copies of the storybook can be picked up at the Danville and San Ramon Community Centers and the Danville, San Ramon, and Dougherty Station public libraries.

Street Smarts is a traffic safety education program is a partnership between the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, the city of San Ramon, the town of Danville, Contra Costa County and the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs.

Programs like the Storybook Poster Contest are made possible by a Federal Safe Routes to School grant.

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