By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff; Photos by Mike Dombrowski
Jersey City eighth-grader Renfrew Maristela isn’t fond of math, but he loves art and his family – and that combination helped him capture the grand prize today in PATH’s annual Holiday Poster Contest. Renfrew’s poster, depicting a train picking up a snowman to visit his family, will be displayed throughout the holiday season in PATH cars and stations.
PATH received more than 350 submissions this year – the 28th consecutive year PATH has partnered with the Jersey City school system in hosting the event – and winners were named in three categories. Renfrew, a student at P.S. 23 whose father is an artist, also won in the grade 6-8 category.
Cora Kerr of P.S. 16 was named the winner in the grade 3-5 category and Skyla-Jean Woomer of P.S. 28 was chosen from grades K-2. Cora and Skyla-Jean’s posters will be on display in PATH stations. The winning entries will have quite the audience: during the holiday season, about 6.7 million passengers take PATH.
Click here to view the winning posters.
Cora had a particular approach in mind when she started designing her poster. “I’ve seen some people decorate their cars with reindeer antlers, so I thought I should dress the PATH up as a reindeer,” she said of her submission, which showed two snowmen heading to the North Pole to pick up presents from Santa.
Skyla-Jean’s mom, Victoria Valdez, was thrilled with her daughter’s big win. “It’s a monumental moment for me. I was blown out of the water,” she said. “I don’t think she realizes how excited I am for her — more than she is for herself.”
The ceremony, held at PATH’s Journal Square headquarters in Jersey City, also featured a performance of Christmas songs by the Jersey City Arts Vocal Choir, and was followed by a luncheon to honor the winners.
“This is one of the highlights of our year,” said PATH Director/General Manager Michael Marino, who noted that “it gets harder to pick a winner, since the quality of submissions is only getting better each year.”
Added Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Maria Lyles: “We are delighted with this continued partnership that will not only usher in the season but showcase our talented students’ work … and highlight the work done by our tremendous staff.”
Each winner received four tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and complimentary 10-trip PATH SmartLink cards, provided by the Port Authority, for the trip to and from the show. The Port Authority awarded the winners with $50 American Express Gift cards, and they are receiving art supplies from the Jersey City Visual and Performing Arts Department and Jersey City Board of Education.