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ADAC's student posters and essays advocate healthy life adventures

Updated: May 24, 2022

(by Charlene Lehn & Sharon Siegel)


We were invited to attend the 35th annual ADAC (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County) poster and essay awards ceremony held at the Paramount Theater in Middletown, NY last week. This was the first time in three years that this event was held live.

Each year ADAC runs this contest for the students in Orange County to create an anti-drug and alcohol poster or essay. This year’s themes were: “The Best Adventures Happen with No Drug Use” (Grades 1-6) and “Amazing Life Is All I See When I’m Alcohol and Drug Free” (Grades 7-12). There were five levels of awards given: Honorable Mention, 3rd Place, 2nd Place, 1st Place and Grand Prize in both the poster and essay contests. The poster contest also had two types of posters created, Art - drawn by the students – and Graphic Design – computer-designed by students.


During the ceremony each winner’s poster was projected on a screen as they were called to the stage to receive their certificate. The winning essays were framed and displayed in the vestibule of the theater. As essay winners were called, a poster of a book or pen was projected along with each student’s name. Their essays were duplicated and bound in a book, so as the announcer said, all were “published authors.”


Katrina Kranik, a sophomore at PJHS, is shown with her grandmother Donna Knight and her mother Amanda Kranik, and her framed Grand Prize (English Category, grades 7-12) Student Drawn Poster

Before the ceremony began, we were able to speak with some of the winners and their proud parents and teachers. One winner was an essay writer from Presidential Park school located in Middletown. Her name was Alena Nowshime, a fifth grader, who was very proud of her work. She stated that she enjoyed writing the essay, coming up with reasons to be drug free, and hoped her words would affect others who read her work. Another was Mahalia Odoms, a sixth grader who placed third in digital design. Her artwork shows hiking and a sunset, things she believes would not be able to be enjoyed at all if not drug free. We enjoyed watching all of the students and their guests mingle and enjoy the displays of the many creative posters and essays in the theater lobby.

We also spoke with an Art teacher from Goshen, Mr. Robert Hoover, who said that his school participates in the contest every year. All of his students create a poster in his art class, over a period of approximately three months. This year his students were rewarded with a fantastic 49 winners. Many of the teachers from the various schools were there, as well as administrators.


Many dignitaries were also present and recognized each student as they went across the stage, shaking their hands and verbally congratulating them. These included New York State Senator Mike Martucci, NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, Undersheriff Kenneth T. Jones, Commissioner of Emergency Services Craig Cherry, and NYSP Troop F Zone 2 Captain Peter Cirigliano.


At the end of the program two adult awards were given out. A Teacher Appreciation Award was presented to Ms. Eleanor Horst, Art Department Chair/Teacher Port Jervis High School. Ms. Horst’s district has participated each year in the contest with every building in her district submitting posters.


The second award was given to one of the sponsors. A Partner Appreciation Award was given to David Hayes-Cohen for framing each of the Grand Prize winner’s posters. David’s company is FCC Gallery & Awards and has been providing this service for many years.


It was great to watch the pride and enthusiasm of the ADAC team in greeting each of the students as they crossed the stage. This team put a lot of effort into celebrating the student work and in getting the important message out, all aimed at saving lives and preventing substance abuse. On hand to congratulate each student were ADAC Prevention Coordinator Maryalice Kovatch, Prevention Educator Rebecca Hulse, Program Assistant Denise Hulse, Stop DWI Program Educator Lauren Savino, and Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Center Jennifer Ocasio.


Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, who deals with the impact of alcohol and drug abuse frequently and in countless ways, was among those who expressed his gratitude for the efforts of ADAC and the importance of prevention in elementary, middle, and high school-year age groups.

“Any prevention is good, and this is very positive and worthwhile. The real problem is within the 27-40 age group. I hope this continues to resonate with the younger ages as they prepare for their future.”


STOP DWI New York, Mark G. Aberasturi, Orange County Department of Emergency Services Traffic and Safety Program, Orange County Youth Bureau, Alto Music, Access: Supports for Living, Newport Academy, FCC Gallery, RRC of OC, United Way, Monroe United Methodist Church, Walsh & Onofry, Anonymous Community Member, Ryan Case, Real Estate Agent, Keller Williams, Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition, Mental Health Association in Orange County, Inc., Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Center, Orange County Department of Mental Health, Tri-County Community Partnership, Wallkill Boys and Girls Club, Voice United for Change, Central Valley United Methodist Church, Stop and Shop Monroe

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