Milan Zhu, a talented seventh grader from P.S. 37 in Jersey City, was facing some stiff competition in PATH’s annual Holiday Poster Contest, with more than 260 submissions from K-8 students across the city vying this year for the top prize.
But Zhu’s creative rendering of a PATH train pulling into the North Pole with a penguin at the controls was chosen as Grand Prize Winner following a strong competition, the 32nd consecutive year the poster contest has been jointly sponsored by PATH and the Jersey City Board of Education.
“It’s been a wonderful partnership between PATH and the Jersey City community for 32 years now, one of the truly special events we take part in each year,” said PATH Director Clarelle DeGraffe. “We’re thrilled to be able to work with our friends at Jersey City’s public schools and to recognize these gifted young artists.”
Zhu’s poster also won the Grades 6-8 category. Jasmin Attalla, a fifth grader from P.S. 11, was named the winner in the Grades 3-5 group, while P.S. 23 second grader Adifah Khan earned the honors in the Grades K-2 category. They were selected from a pool of 25 finalists. All of the winners will have their posters printed and displayed in PATH stations system-wide, while Zhu’s artwork is to be displayed in PATH train cars.
PATH’s Phil Silvestro, a senior marketing representative, directed the 2021 event, reconciling the many moving parts in running a virtual art contest and deftly overcoming staging challenges in his second year at the helm. He worked hand in glove with the arts team from the Jersey City school system, notably the school district’s visual arts supervisor, Melissa Cuccinello.
Said Cucinello, “This partnership is in its 32nd year this year and with over 200 submissions from Jersey City Public School students in grades K-8 we are very excited to say it is still going strong. It is an amazing opportunity for our gifted young artists to showcase their talents!”
Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole praised the students, Jersey City school officials and the PATH team for providing holiday cheer following a year of challenges driven by the pandemic. Of the coterie of young artists who contributed their art, he said, “you have uplifted the Port Authority.”