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February 17, 2017

Students use imagination to win Ben Franklin Transit poster contest

With visions of Columbia River bridges on a starry night, deserts, forests, and hot air balloons, Kennewick School District students swept the top honors of the Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) annual poster contest.

David Olvera-Vargas, a Kennewick High School senior, took first place with his submission. Southridge High School junior Emma Shaffer won second place and Margot Massey, a sixth-grader at Mid-Columbia Partnership (now attending Desert Hills Middle School), earned third place.

Three other Southridge High School students—junior Kaelee Marschke, senior Kevin Tatunay and sophomore Ella Freeman-Cadoret—were among the top 16 entries in the competition.

“We’ve always had good entries but this year’s were the best,” says Christy Watts, BFT's marketing and customer service manager.

The contest started four years ago as part of an effort to raise student awareness of the transit system and encourage them to use it, Watts says. All middle and high school students living in the transit system’s service area in Benton and Franklin counties were eligible to participate. This year’s theme was “Imagination Drives Transit.”

David will receive a new bike worth $400 to $500 for his winning entry while his art teacher Suzy Ard will receive a $500 gift card for art supplies for her classroom.

Emma and Margot will each receive $100 gift cards for art supplies while their art teachers, Corrine Lechelt and Julie Pasma, will receive $250 gift cards to purchase art supplies for their classrooms.

David’s poster will be featured on the cover of BFT’s transit guide while the top three posters will be displayed on several buses beginning in May. The artists will be honored at BFT’s board meeting on March 9 and be given back their submissions in frames.

The top 16 posters will be featured in the transit system’s annual calendar and their artists will receive free BFT summer passes.


First place: David Olvera-Vargas, senior, Kennewick High School


Second place: Emma Shaffer, junior, Southridge High School


Third place: Margot Massey, sixth grade, Mid-Columbia Partnership