Gahanna Lincoln High School junior Miranda Steinhauser won first place in the 2008 Kids Voting poster contest, a program implemented by the Gahanna Rotary and Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.

Gahanna Lincoln High School junior Miranda Steinhauser won first place in the 2008 Kids Voting poster contest, a program implemented by the Gahanna Rotary and Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.

Two elementary school students, Jordan Sparks and Robbie Mefford, were qualified as runners-up.

The three students' art pieces will be converted into posters, which will be displayed throughout the Gahanna community beginning in September.

According to Kids Voting, the purpose of the project is to "emphasize the importance and privilege of voting, especially in the upcoming 2008 presidential election."

The Gahanna Rotary Club honored the three students and their teachers during a May 21 reception at the Jefferson Golf and Country Club. Each student submitting an art entry received a $5 gift card. Those who earned honorable mentions received a $25 gift card, and the winner received a $50 gift card. The winning teacher received $100 for art supplies, and the honorable-mention teachers $50 for art supplies.

Schools from throughout central Ohio participated in the Kids Voting project: Columbus City Schools, Dublin City Schools, Westerville City Schools, Worthington City Schools and Gahanna.

Steinhauser won first place for her poster. She said art teacher Mary Ann Donato encourages students to participate in contests by distributing newsletters or directing students to the Internet.

"She gave me a packet explaining the competition," Steinhauser said.

To create her poster, Steinhauser used Adobe Illustrator, a graphic-arts program. She said she wanted to have some kind of writing featuring the word, "Mark."

"When you think of voting, you think of checking a box," she said, adding that she used her own handwriting for the poster and made it appear as though she physically checked a box.

Steinhauser said she makes a lot of posters for school events, such as homecoming and prom. Steinhauser said she likes working with Photoshop to edit photos and design T-shirts for GLHS clubs.

"You get to make something that you physically see worn around," Steinhauser said. "I see kids walking around in T-shirts I got to design."

Steinhauser said she initially wasn't interested in graphic design. Her mother owns a hair salon in Westerville and needed brochures made so she asked for her help. Steinhauser taught herself how to use Adobe Illustrator to make the brochures.

"After a while, I got into it," she said. "I do all the stuff for the salon."

Steinhauser said she was surprised to learn she had won the contest, saying Donato had reminded her on the day the entries were due.

"I had completely forgotten," she said. "I whipped it out in 20 or 25 minutes. I thought it was not really my best work and if I had not procrastinated I would have done better."

Steinhauser will attend the Ohio State University next year for postsecondary education instead of taking classes at GLHS. She plans to study industrial design at the University of Cincinnati and eventually design automobiles.

Honorable mentions went to Royal Manor Elementary School third-grader Jordan Sparks and her teacher, Julie Keanney, and to Blacklick Elementary School fifth-grader Robbie Mefford and his teacher, Cathy Stewart.

Gahanna Lincoln High School junior Miranda Steinhauser's poster.