The winning artists, parents and Ms. Bumgarner after Tessa and Kora received their recognition. Tony Flynn and Brandy Powers, Energy Share board members, and Kendra Brown, representing Action Inc., presented the awards on behalf of Energy Share. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDY POWERS

Sheridan fourth graders get it

Two students place in Energy Share’s drawing contest

Two Sheridan Elementary fourth grade students placed second and third in Energy Share’s drawing contest.

Energy Share is a statewide nonprofit whose purpose is to help Montanans that experience energy emergencies—a disconnect notice, past due notice, or a low propane tank—and do not have the means to pay to resolve the issues. It complements the federally funded energy assistance program, Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).

The contest awarded its first winner in 1997 and since then, the winning selection is used on the front of thank you cards that Energy Share sends to donors. “We wanted to spread the news and educate and help even elementary school students be aware of what the needs are in Montana,” Rachel Haberman with Energy Share said.

Ms. Katie Bumgarner’s fourth graders Tessa Scott and Kora Hardy placed second and third, respectively. Scott will receive $50, Hardy $25 and Ms. Bumgarner a $75 gift card to Walmart.

“I’m excited to get some new school supplies for them. That’ll be fun,” Ms. Bumgarner said.

Energy Share’s statewide board selects three winners from local committees’ recommendations. These committees serve 10 districts throughout the state. This year’s winner was from Superior, Mont.

Energy Share has a presentation that is used to explain to students the purpose of the contest and the sentiments the artwork should convey—essentially depicting Energy Share’s mission.

“I always think it’s neat, also, that they’re both in the same class so that teacher obviously did a really god job explaining what Energy Share does,” Haberman said.

“We basically just talked about how with Covid, especially, a lot of people have been out of work or losing their jobs. And with the cold weather coming up we also talked about accidents that can happen that make people not able to work, and because of that they can’t afford their energy bills and during this time of year, obviously, it’s very cold outside,” Ms. Bumgarner said, explaining how she described the premise to her students.

Ms. Bumgarner gave her class a few weeks’ notice to submit pieces, allowing them time to brainstorm. Her whole class submitted drawings for the contest.

“I’m just really proud of them and they really worked hard and took their time, and you could tell from their drawings that they really understood the whole reasoning behind,” Ms. Bumgarner said. She hopes what they learned through the project sticks with them as they go through life.

Both fourth graders were presented with their prizes at Sheridan Elementary on Feb. 18.

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