Jacob Marshall and Marcus Payne
On Oct. 17 English teacher Courtney Romeiser AP Language and Composition class submitted cartoons for the Cartoon and Editorial Contest sponsored by the New York Times. After waiting for a little over a month, the results of the contest came in and are posted outside the library along with all of the other cartoons created by Jamesville-DeWitt High School students. Out of 800 entries, seven students from J-DHS were recognized for their work. This was more than last year, when only three students were recognized. “I was happy,” said junior Mark Davis, one of three students in the top 8. “It only took 30 minutes to an hour to complete,” Davis said. His cartoon showed the cost of making clothes in a third world country and compared it to the cost to buy clothes in America.
Juniors Emma Kesselring and Eden Shiomos were the other two top 8 winners from J-DHS. They both said that they were surprised that they won and that they would not do it again. Shiomos said, “If I do it again my second idea would not be as good as my first.” Shiomos cartoon was a vending machine full of guns. She drew it because she felt that it was a “major issue.” Kesselring’s cartoon was two pictures of a google search of Stephen Paddock and Philando Castile.
Juniors Michael Sizing and Nancy O’Connor, both runners-up, were “happy” and “surprised” that they won. “I put a lot of thought into mine,” said O’Connor; “I knew I was not that good of an artist so I had more thought and less art.” Unlike any of the other participants, Sizing said he would do the contest again. “I almost won, I feel like if I could do it next year i’d probably win,” said Sizing.
Along with the five students listed above Michaela Fay and juniors Emma Buck and Grace Martin were recognized with an honorable mention. Buck’s cartoon was of an Earth’s grave which said “At least we tried (kinda).” Martin’s cartoon shows Trump putting a paper towel down in a pool of water in attempt to help the flooding from the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
Fay, a sophomore, decided to do the contest when her teacher Mr. Phillips mentioned it to the class, but it was not mandatory. “I saw an article on disability rights and it gave me the inspiration for my cartoon. My grandma is blind so to me disability rights are really important,” Fay said. She learned that making a cartoon is not nearly as easy as it appears. Fay said that it takes a lot of research, composition and planning to get the article right. She is looking forward to doing the contest next year because she will have help from Ms. Romeiser and work on it with other students.
This is the second year Ms. Romeiser’s AP Language and Composition class participated in the cartoon contest. The students choose their topics based on the issue they wanted to show based on an article of the New York Times.
There are many reasons Ms. Romeiser has her students participate in this contest. It helps them with “learning terminology” and “gives the participants a broader audience, and lets them use their skills and talents in different ways,” she said. There were a lot of different cartoons on many different topics like gun violence and sports but most of them were political. “Politics, Presidents response to hurricanes, President issues, sports and North Korea,” were some of the common themes, according to Ms. Romeiser.
All 82 of Ms. Romeiser juniors participated in the editorial contest. The students were easily inspired by things happening around the world in the news that were covered. Both Sizing and Emma Galletta chose to draw political cartoons. Sizing drew a picture of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un playing tug of war over at pit of nuclear weapons. Galletta’s was one of Trump golfing. “Donald Trump is golfing on nice green grass and on his golf ball it says immigrants. He is hitting it towards the hole and where the whole is the flag is torn up and the grass is dead,” said Galletta.
Both Sizing and Galletta’s cartoons have a deeper meaning. By Sizing showing Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump playing tug of war over a pit of weapons symbolizes that “If one of them pushed (the) other just enough that one of them would basically destroy the countries.” Galleta said her cartoon represents how Donald Trump is taking immigrants from a good place (America), and kicking them out to a worse place.
Junior Sawyer Parker’s cartoon had yet another theme. Her cartoon was based on the topic of climate change. She had four different mini pictures drawn on the sheet of paper. Three of them were about the hurricanes that just had happened and the fourth one was of Trump saying that climate change was not a problem.
Junior Max Chirco’s cartoon attacked the idea of racial profiling. His cartoon was a police officer telling Martellus Bennett to get on his knees and Bennett responds by saying “I thought I was told not to take a knee?” “It plays off the stereotypes of A. racial profiling, and B. the players aren't allowed to take a knee in the NFL,” said Chirco.
The editorial contest makes an impact on people outside of Ms. Romeiser’s class. All of the issues the students drew about show people their thoughts and ideas on what’s happening in the world today. “It’ll help shed some light on the fact that things aren’t perfect in America and we’re still working to make it better for everyone who lives here,” said Chirco.