May 29, 2013 - Jillian Parkhurst has the unique ability to create art that really inspires the viewer to think about the big picture and ponder the larger questions in life.
Jillian Parkhurst proudly poses with the winning poster she created for the Junior American Citizens
Art Contest, sponsored by the Daughters
of the American Revolution. Photo
by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Once again, the 11-year-old Oxford resident has employed her considerable talents to create a winning poster for the Junior American Citizens Art Contest, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Parkhurst, who's a fifth-grader at Oakland Christian School in Auburn Hills, designed a poster based on the contest theme of "Invest in America's Future."
Her poster earned first place in her school, in the state and in DAR's East Central Division, which includes Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia.
But the icing on the cake was winning first place in the national competition.
Last year, Parkhurst, who's a member of Oxford American Legion Post 108's Junior Auxiliary, took first place at all of the aforementioned levels, but finished second in the nation.
That's why it was especially meaningful to her to go all the way this year and be crowned a national champion.
"I was really happy about it," Parkhurst said. "I had a really good feeling (about this year). Everyone kept telling me, 'Don't get your hopes up. What happened last year was really good, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen again.' But through all that, I still kept my hopes up."
Her colorful poster features a young girl sitting on a park bench beneath an American flag waving in the breeze.
The girl is pondering questions such as, "How can I invest in America and who has already helped?" and "Could I be that person?"
Her poster combined people from the past – such as Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – who influenced America and changed things for the better. It also incorporated people who make significant contributions to America today such as military personnel, police officers and firefighters.
When asked why she likes to enter contests like this, Parkhurst replied, "I really like doing art, so it's about the joy of art. But you could say I'm kind of competitive, too, so that's another reason."
Someday, Parkhurst would like to be a professional artist or a fashion designer.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.