Local contest winner’s effort to appear on billboards in four-county area

July 28, 2013

Lora Ellen Robinson’s winning entry in the Healthy Grounds for Our Youth poster contest is getting a lot of exposure. In fact, the poster will be seen by thousands.

Robinson’s entry will be featured on a billboard along U.S. 58 in Carroll County. It will also adorn billboards in Wythe, Henry and Patrick counties. Another winner will have her poster on billboards in Smyth and Tazewell counties.

The poster features two skydivers jumping from a plane with the slogan “Oh What a Feeling” underneath them.

Robinson, a fifth-grader at Laurel Elementary School, said she got the idea for her winning poster while riding in the car with her mother, Patricia.

“I was riding, looking up at the sky and just thought of skydiving. It would be such a rush,” said Robinson. “I can’t wait to see it.”

Robinson is also into rock climbing, is enrolled in art classes and “loves to shop.”

Although Robinson knew her poster would be on a billboard if it were the winning selection, she was surprised by the monetary awards. She received a $100 Visa card and a $25 Wal-Mart gift card. What did she do to celebrate her good fortune?

“I bought a phone and went bungee jumping the mall,” she said.

“I’m very proud of what she does and proud of the way she participates,” said Patricia. “She’s a very, very good kid.”

The posters promote tobacco-free school environments, which include all school-property and all off-campus school-sponsored events.

“We try to educate the public about the importance of tobacco-free living,” said Billie Murray, project manager for Tobacco Free Living, which operates under the auspices of the American Lung Association. “We have been meeting and educating superintendents on the proper language, some thought the term no tobacco products on campus meant only inside the buildings, but it means all school grounds.”

Five school systems, including Carroll County, have already “changed their language” to include outdoor grounds as well as indoor facilities, said Murray.

Jenny Martin, administrator for Southwest Virginia chapter of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, is a co-coach along with Murray in the Healthy Grounds for Our Youth program.