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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Paula TredwayState Representative Willard Haley reads a resolution that was prepared from the House thanking and congratulating Tipton native Ingrid Keene on her talents. Keene was one of four finalists in Missouri’s Bicentennial Poster Contest.

A Moniteau County student was among four finalists in Missouri's Bicentennial Poster Contest.

Ingrid Keene, a ninth-grade home-schooled student from Tipton, was one of the four students across the state selected after judging.

Keene was sponsored by the Price James Library in Tipton, where she unveiled her poster last Tuesday, receiving her award of $200 and recognition for her creative talents.

The theme for Missouri's Bicentennial Poster Contest was "Sharing Missouri's Stories: Past, Present and Future." The competition was open to all Missouri students in third through 12th grade. In total, there were 231 submissions from 45 counties throughout Missouri, with two rounds of judging.

The competition ended with three other finalists besides Keene: Lehualina Taula, a sixth-grade student at Fire Prairie Upper Elementary School in Independence; Luke Ensor, a sixth-grade student at Holliday Elementary School in Holiday; and Mia Foote, an 11th-grade student from Jackson High School in Jackson.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin started last Tuesday's ceremony in Tipton by thanking Keene for her hard work.

"You have used your talent and art to celebrate our history with our past, our present and future. And I think it's really great how you can take art and make that a part of something even bigger, and tell a story and a message through art and be able to commemorate that for our 200th year of our state's bicentennial is even more special," Tergin said. "So we appreciate you, your friends, your family and all of the effort you put into this poster because this really means a lot. This is more than just art on paper; it's a bigger story and a bigger message, so thank you for sharing that with our entire state. It's a gift that you're able to give to all of us and we're happy to share that with you."

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft congratulated Keene on her talent to showcase what Missouri has and continues to offer its people.

"I love the past, present, future motif of the Bicentennial," Ashcroft said. "I think it's so important to have an understanding that our past can prepare us for where we want to go, that it does not constrain us to a certain future. We can learn from it. But Missouri, especially, if you think of it, when Missouri was the gateway of the west. Missouri has always been a place for people to start from, dream big dreams and to do great things."

Ashcroft said he thought Keene did a great job of celebrating the opportunities provided in the state of Missouri for 200 years, and more to come, and said she personified that idea well.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe was unable to attend, but he prepared a recording just for Keene.

Kehoe congratulated Keene for the honor, highlighting that she showed a consideration of geographic and cultural diversity and took care to present an original work that fit the poster contest's theme.

"By entering the poster contest, you have also become an important part of a celebration of Missouri's 200th birthday," Kehoe said in the recording. "As March is Youth Art Month, it's the perfect time to celebrate and award your efforts in helping us commemorate our great state while also starting a new chapter in Missouri's rich, unique history. It's not elected officials who make our state great; it's young people like you who step up and show the rest of the country what makes Missouri great."

State Rep. Willard Haley then read a resolution prepared from the House thanking and congratulating Keene.

After unveiling Keene's poster, she, her family and state officials took photos with her interpretation of Missouri's stories.

"Thank you very much for picking me, and I do not deserve this," Keene said. "I prefer to just draw and use what I can to help others, and I hope that this was able to help my state."

Keene's entry, as well as the other winners and all other submitted posters, are available to view at missouri2021.org/bicentennial-poster.

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