The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Unit 376 sponsored a Poppy Poster Contest in both the Oxford Academy Middle and High Schools. The event was chaired by Terrill Sutton with assistance by Art Educators, Charity Gipp and Joni Eaton. Ten students were poster winners!

The ALA's Poppy Poster Contest, for Unit 376, is the brainchild of Terrill Sutton originating in 2018.

"The purpose of doing this," Terrill said, "is to have the students learn about what the Red Flanders Field Poppy stands for and what it represents."

In 2018, Terrill asked Art Educators Charity Gipp, Middle School and Joni Eaton, High School, to have their students learn the meaning of the red Memorial Poppy and read the poem "In Flanders Field". Terrill then asked the instructors to have their art students create posters, in any medium, to be displayed at the Oxford American Legion Post 376 for a competition.

"Charity and I have participated every year since (although last year was cut short for us), said Eaton.

The criteria for the local poster contest is only that it is 11" x 14" in paper size, and that a Red Flanders Field poppy is depicted. Other than that, students may add anything else they would like, such as the American Flag, silhouettes of soldiers, or crosses. Each poster should have a fitting slogan such as "We Will Not Forget" or (a line from) the Flanders Field Poem. (The Unit's contest regulations are more relaxed than the National ALA contest.)

Joni stated, "I can honestly say my HS students really take this project seriously! I proudly entered 46 posters this year!"

The artwork is then delivered to the Fort Hill Post 376 where it is hung and judged by the American Legion Auxiliary officers. The poster display remains up for a month for all to appreciate and can be viewed during the Sunday Community Breakfast.

Winning Poppy Poster students are awarded gift cards of their choice from Hoppie's, Joe & Vinny's, The Stadium or Roma's.

Winners of the Poppy Poster Contest from the Middle School are: First Place: Emerson La Monica, Second Place: Teagan Franklin and Third Place: Deana Ferreira.
Winners from the High School are: Jillian Finch, Jocelyn Finch, Ayla Grems, Sara Johnson, Elizabeth Knapp, Liberty Moshier, and John Rovente.

A soldier in World War I, John McCrae, wrote a poem about his experiences during battle.  The poem has become world famous and reflects why the poppy became something that memorializes the war dead.  Here is his poem, "In Flanders Field" in its entirety.:

 “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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