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December 11, 2023

Spreading the Word Through Creativity: Attendance Awareness Poster Contest 2023

Karen Arnold and Donna Puhalovich

Editor’s Note: Special thank you to the Attendance Awareness Team…team work makes the dream work.

  • Karen Windon, Team Leader, Overall Title 1 Connector
  • Donna Puhalovich, Poster Contest Logistics
  • Karen Arnold, Lead Charlotte County and DeSoto County School Connector
  • Cinthia Peña, Charlotte and DeSoto County Connector
  • Cassidy Rickrode, Lead Manatee County Connector
  • Renee Isrel, Monique Thornton, Sandra Vega-Picchietti, Manatee County Connectors
  • Kelli Karen Smith, Lead Sarasota County School Connector
  • Marla Smith, Maria Schaedler-Luera, and Elsie Merrill, Sarasota County Connectors


September is Attendance Awareness Month. What better way to promote the importance of attending school than to give students the opportunity to create art to express what they know about the benefits of showing up on time and ready to learn every day?  

For this year’s Attendance Awareness Poster Contest, each child in grades Pre-K – 5 in Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee, and Sarasota schools was offered a blank poster. The teachers were asked to discuss the importance of good school attendance with the class, and then the students created their artwork to reflect that conversation. Their artwork was entered into the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Attendance Awareness Poster contest, and a winner was selected from each grade level in every participating school. Winners received two framed copies of their original artwork, one for them to take home and one to be displayed in the school, a congratulatory letter, a certificate signed by the superintendent of schools, and a $25 gift card, thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation

In 2023, the  Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) Attendance Awareness Poster Contest included:

  • 50,000 participating students 
  • 78 participating schools
  • 452 student winners
  • 21 Pre-K class winners. (Pre-K students worked on a class poster instead of individual posters and received a basket of books as their class prize.) 

Teachers, parents, and community members play a role in ensuring that students attend school regularly. The creativity of the student artists reminds us all of the importance of outstanding attendance. Here are a few of the quotes incorporated into this year’s artwork:

  • Show up today to make sure tomorrow’s dreams can come true.
  • Like a farmer tends their crops, I grow my skills by showing up and making every day count.
  • Shine every day. Being in school is the road to success.
  • Readers are Leaders.
  • Get up, Dream Up, Show Up, Never Give Up
  • Teachers open doors, but YOU can walk through. 
  • Don’t be a fool, success is at school.

The next time you are in a public school in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, or Sarasota counties, look around. You will be delighted by the original artwork created by young minds who are learning great habits!


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