Coloring contest to spark census discussion

First in the door! Onni Sredich (left) is a second-grader and her brother Everest (right) is a fourth-grader. They were the first two students to turn in their entries. Both are homeschooled and live in Oxford. Photo from Oxford Township.

Calling all children with a love for coloring: Oxford Township has the perfect contest for you! To help promote the 2020 U.S. Census, youngins’ are invited to participate in a coloring contest with prizes that are sure to help motivate the artists to stay in the lines.
The contest is open to children in kindergarten through fifth grade who live either in Oxford Township or the Village of Oxford or attend one of the five elementary schools in the Oxford school district: Clear Lake, Oxford, Daniel Axford, Lakeville and Leonard.
Since there is a significant age gap between those just entering elementary school and those getting ready to leave, the township evened out the playing field by creating three different age categories. The first category is for kindergarteners and first graders, the second category is for second and third graders while the last category is for the fourth and fifth graders.
Those wishing to participate in the coloring contest can do so by printing off an entry form and coloring sheet via the township’s website, OxfordTownship.net, or can pick them up at the township offices, located at 300 Dunlap Rd. They are also available at Funky Monkey Toys and the Oxford 7 Theater. Entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, in order to be considered. To help ensure that no artist is accidentally overlooked, the township will only accept submissions that are dropped off in person at the township offices between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
However, the township would like to politely remind parents and guardians that this is a contest for the kids, so it should be completed by the kids. “It’s better for kids to do the work themselves because they can be proud of the work they’ve done if they did it on their own,” said C.J. Carnacchio, communications and grants manager for Oxford Township.
If children are on the fence about letting out their inner Picasso, some local businesses donated prizes that parents will love just as much as the children. First place winners in each of the three age categories will receive a Platinum Package from Urban Air Adventure Park, located inside Legacy 925. The package, valued at $210, will allow the winner and four friends to visit the park and play unlimited laser tag, receive a $3 arcade card, enjoy one go-kart ride and play on the trampolines, battle beam, warrior course, climbing walls and tubes playground. Second place winners will receive a $50 gift card to the Oxford 7 Theater and third place winners will receive a $25 gift card to Funky Monkey Toys.
“(The contest) is a chance to educate the kids about the census, it’s a chance to educate the parents because parents always take an interest in what their kids are doing and what their kids are involved in,” Carnacchio said. “The coloring contest will also prompt maybe some teachers in the classrooms to discuss the census with the kids.”
Not only did the upcoming census spur the idea of a coloring contest, but more importantly, the data collected will be used to determine numerous outcomes that will affect Michiganians and the country as a whole over the next 10 years. For example, the census determines how many seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives and how much money the state will receive from the federal government; communities use those statistics when it comes to adding new schools, roads and emergency services to their area; and businesses also look at the data provided by the Census Bureau to see which areas would be the best place to open up shop.
“(The census) is also a way to help local businesses,” Carnacchio said. “This is a good way to promote those businesses and show that they give back to the community all the time, so we should be willing to go that extra mile and shop with them during the M-24 project to help them survive it. Actions speak louder than words and when it comes to businesses, dollars speak louder than words.”
Winners of the coloring contest will be announced on the township’s social media pages and website, oxfordtownship.net, on March 12. The Leader will publish the names on March 18.
“I want to thank all the businesses who graciously and generously agreed to contribute to the contest,” Carnacchio said. “They gave some fantastic prizes and I think that’s going to encourage kids to participate in the contest, so I am really grateful to them.”
Those related to any Oxford township official, elected or appointed as well as township employees, are ineligible to participate in the contest. This includes anyone employed at the Township Hall, Oxford Fire Department, Oxford Township Parks and Recreation and Oxford Public Library.

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