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State Fire Marshal honors Fire Prevention poster contest winners

by PRIDE Newsdesk

Youth from kindergarten to the 12th grade were praised for using creativity and skill to encourage their communities to be more fire-safe in the State Fire Marshal’s annual banquet to honor winners of the Fire Prevention Division’s youth poster contest.

State Fire Marshal and Department of Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak addressed the adults attending the banquet Sunday before the young winners came forward to receive their certificates and savings bonds.

“Think about one of the roles of a parent and a grown-up,” said McPeak. “It is our job to make sure our children understand to respect and avoid the things that could harm or endanger them. This poster contest goes beyond that goal by getting our children to think of ways to warn their families about fire hazards in the home.

“It is evident that the young people whose work is arrayed here today gave a lot of thought to this year’s contest theme on home-escape plan, ‘Have Two Ways Out,’ and its importance as well as to finding creative techniques to share that message.”

Winners included:

Kindergarten winner   

Peyton Griffin

White Bluff Elementary School

Sponsored by Claylick Fire Department

First-grade winner 

MacCade Pratt

Rock Creek Elementary

Sponsored by Estill Springs Volunteer Fire Dept

Second-grade winner   

Bryson Bilbrey

York Elementary

Sponsored by Fentress Co. Fire Department

Third-grade winner

Hayden Shirley

Holice Powell Elementary

Sponsored by Dyer County Fire Department

Fourth-grade winner    

Harley McNeal

Covington Integrated Arts Academy

Sponsored by Covington Fire Department

Fifth-grade winner 

Connor Tacker

Tara Oaks Elementary

Sponsored by Collierville Fire & Rescue

Sixth-grade winner

Katie Mae Talley

Dickson Middle School

Sponsored by Dickson Fire Department

Seventh-grade winner  

Mackenzie McNeal

Crestview Middle School

Sponsored by Covington Fire Department

Eighth-grade winner    

Ryan Stark

Bon Lin Middle School

Sponsored by Bartlett Fire Department

Ninth-grade winner

Courtney Tipton

St. George’s Independent School

Sponsored by Collierville Fire & Rescue

10th-grade winner  

Ivy Edwards

Collierville High School

Sponsored by Collierville Fire & Rescue

11th-grade winner  

Justine Poulin

Alcoa High School

Sponsored by Alcoa Fire Department

12th-grade winner  

Dana Ortega

Boyd-Buchanan School

Sponsored by Chattanooga Fire Department


Each year, the State Fire Marshal’s Office helps educate children about fire safety, while providing them the opportunity to shine. The annual fire safety poster contest (open to students from kindergarten through the 12th grade) draws some truly impressive artistic submissions in the fall. A few months later, participants are honored at a luncheon led by McPeak and her staff in the Fire Prevention Division.

McPeak also selected Jessie Prince, a fifth-grader from Decherd Elementary School and sponsored by the Decherd Fire Department, for her Commissioner’s Choice award. The Fire Educator of the Year Award went to the Gallatin Fire Department Fire Safety Clown Troop: P.J. Bradford, Matt Stringer, Matt Robison, Dustin Dunn, Mark Hall, Rick Donely and Johnny Smith

Fire Prevention received 278 poster entries this year from 102 different schools. Last year, 238 posters were received from 82 different schools. The program itself also has grown. The judging was initially carried out by employees. For the past two years, the contest has garnered judging from outside experts. This year, the judges were Andrea Steele of the Renaissance Center (and formerly of the Frist Center for Visual Arts); Justin Makemson of Belmont University’s Art Department; and Philip Kreger, the director of exhibits at the State Museum.


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