Mt. Pleasant student makes his mark in art contest

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 10:27 p.m.

A selfless sentiment recently served as the inspiration for Carter Mates' prize-winning drawing in the Edgar Snyder & Associates' 9th annual “My Holiday Wish” coloring contest.

Carter, 6, of Mt. Pleasant is a first-grader at Rumbaugh Elementary School in the borough. Out of 700 contest entrants, he was chosen as one of just four runners-up to the winner for his drawing.

“I can't believe I won,” Carter exclaimed when he received the call from first-grade teacher Stacey Hines announcing his achievement. “I did my happy dance.”

The entry's theme was based on Carter's wish that everyone have food and clean water for Christmas.

The drawing's design reflects that wish as it features a reindeer with a head and antlers in the shape and color of a silver water faucet that is pulling a colorful sleigh full of food, grains and rice. Carter's holiday wish is written in red and green letters above the illustration.

“It's a simple wish that is relevant to many here and around the world, especially in the weeks following (Superstorm) Sandy,” said Katherine E. Conlon, a spokeswoman at the law firm.

When asked about his inspiration behind his design, Carter said, “I want people not to get sick and be able to stay healthy.”

As a reward for his work, Carter received a $100 gift card to Target, a portion of which he plans to use to make a donation to Sandy victims, Conlon said.

The design reflects Carter's concern and caring for people, said his mother, Lori Mates.

“Carter has always been interested in art. He often draws pictures of animals or imaginary creatures,” Mates said. “He is currently creating a book about animals and their adaptations. He also enjoys creating things out of Legos.”

More than 700 entries from elementary schools across western Pennsylvania were considered by a panel of contest judges.

The panel included Ashley Andrykovitch of the Carnegie Museum of Art; Tamara Pavlock of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh; and Myrna Rosen of CMU and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; as well as Kristi Schaefer and Scott Wallace, both of swz design.

Carter's artwork will be featured with the other winning entries on the backs of holiday greeting cards to be sent to the firm's approximately 4,000 clients.

“The students showed talent and creativity, but what is most impressive is that these young artists have such mature and unselfish holiday wishes,” said attorney Edgar Snyder. “You'd expect requests for game consoles, toys and puppies, yet we received wishes like peace, hope, food, and happiness.”

Hines said about half the students in her class participated in the contest.

“I noticed when (Carter) turned (the entry) in that his would stand out,” she said. “He had such a nice idea for a holiday wish.”

Carter's grandmother, Colette Mates of Scottdale, expressed pride in her grandson's artistic achievement and his considerate outlook.

“He is a very compassionate little boy and was worried about kids that weren't going to get anything for Christmas,” Colette Mates said.

In addition to art, Carter said he enjoys skiing, basketball and soccer.

In addition to Carter, four other students were recognized for their holiday submissions.

Réka Götz, 9, of Marshall Elementary School in Wexford was the grand prize winner. The three other runners-up were Bryson Huwar, 8, of Clarion-Limestone Elementary in Clarion; Maggie Knisely, 10, of Claysburg-Kimmel Elementary School in Claysburg; and Emma Kraus, 10, of Paynter Elementary in Baldwin-Whitehall.

To view all of the students' winning artwork, visit or

Kelly Vernon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-547-5722 or at

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