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Thu, Jan. 23

2 students in county win grand prize in MATForce poster contest

Ashley Wassell’s poster (left). Gage Sloniger’s poster (right).

Ashley Wassell’s poster (left). Gage Sloniger’s poster (right).

MATForce announces Ashley Wassell, an 11-year-old student from Big Park School in Sedona, and Gage Sloniger, a 13-year-old from Mountain View Preparatory School in Cottonwood, are the grand-prize winners of the MATForce 2016 Youth Poster Contest. In honor of their outstanding entries, these winners will each receive a $250 cash award.

MATForce’s poster contest is an annual event held to raise awareness about the risks of drug and alcohol abuse. Each year hundreds of students from throughout the county take part in the poster drawing event. This year’s theme was “Stand With Me, Be Drug Free.” Winning posters will be featured in MATForce substance abuse prevention materials, including posters, in prevention workbooks for schools and on the MATForce website.

In addition to grand prize, first place winners were selected in seven different age categories. First-place winners each will receive a $25 gift card.

First-place winners by category include: Age 5/6 - Jasmine Bryant, American Heritage Academy in Cottonwood; Age 7/8 - Brooklyn Renfroe, Mountain View Elementary School in Prescott Valley; Age 9/10 - Collin Riely Handley, Granite Mountain Middle School in Prescott; Age 11/12 - Kayla Shimko, Granite Mountain Middle School in Prescott; Age 13/14 - Gicel Olivas, Camp Verde High School; Age 15/16 - Usualdo Herrera, Camp Verde High School; and Age 17/18 - Daan Enrique-Mata of Chino Valley.

MATForce also commends the following honorable mention winners, who each will receive a $10 gift card: Gage Patrick Jochim, Maven Mestas, Thalia Rocha, Jose Vearla, Camden Stockbridge and Jess Burress of American Heritage Academy in Cottonwood; Naino Misra of Bagdad Schools; Iliana Heitzman of Basis Prescott; Ash-Lee Lewis, Gicel Olivas, Stephanie Vanskiner, Pilar Picazo-Valdez, William Schultz, Logan Pratt, Joseph Kowalieyk, AJ Martin, Alyfous Beauty, Sadie Cooper and Malia Rodriguez of Camp Verde High School; Adelina Carenas, Isabel Diane Mares and Phoebe Carnes of Canon School in Black Canyon City; Makenzie Suercl and Danielle Carter of Cottonwood Middle School; Erin Milvesnich, Savannah Smith, Amanda Lange, Katelyn Walz and Robin Webb of Granite Mountain Middle School in Prescott; Alysah Marin, Raylee Cunningham, Gage Cunningham, Devyn Blackmore and Tylar Blackmore of Hillside Elementary School in Bagdad; Addison Renfroe of Mountain View Elementary School in Prescott Valley; Ryan Tarp of Prescott Valley Charter School; and Carlos Luna of Prescott Valley, Jade Fichera of Prescott, Sabrina Glancy of Prescott, and Nate Umbower of Prescott Valley.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office assisted in promoting the contest. YCSO Deputy Scott Reed said, “All of this year’s posters were truly amazing. I congratulate all who entered the contest. Creating an anti-drug poster is a valuable tool that helps kids really think about the consequences of drug or alcohol abuse. This year the theme was ‘Stand With Me, Be Drug Free.’ Those words are a reminder to unite with your peers and choose healthy behaviors.”

Grand-prize and first-place winning posters can be viewed at Beginning in June, all winning posters will be displayed throughout Yavapai County in the MATForce Youth Poster Contest Road Show. Watch for the upcoming schedule at

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