A poster created by an Ellicott City elementary pupil is among 11 from Maryland chosen as winners in the the national American Automobile Association Traffic Safety Poster program.
"Walk Facing Traffic," designed by 10-year-old M. Leo Tsay, was among more than 60,000 entries submitted to the contest from )) across the United States and Canada.
People who know the Waverly Elementary pupil call him a young artist. But Leo doesn't think the label fits him.
"I like drawing airplanes and big cats like lions and tigers," Leo said. "I guess I'm sort of like an artist, but my mom is really the artist.
"I just started drawing because I liked it and because I went to my mother's art classes a lot," said Leo, who also plays the violin and is on the school safety patrol. His mother, May-Fong Tsay, has been teaching art classes in her home for 20 years.
For many students, the nationwide AAA poster contest is the only one they'll ever compete in, but for Leo it's one of many.
"It usually takes me three or four days to finish a poster, but this time it took me longer."
The poster depicts a man's head, with traffic reflected in his sunglasses. Overhead is the message: "NO SIDEWALK, WALK FACING TRAFFIC."
"I want him to keep drawing because he has talent," said his mother. "He liked to draw while I was working in my studio and when he was little he used to help me. He's so clever and smart, I want him to keep up with it."
Sandra Alger, Waverly's art teacher, also hopes Leo will keep up with it.
"I remember when he was the only boy in the art club last year. He stuck it out with all those girls," Alger said. "I think he's very talented and very motivated.
"A lot of students don't put as much time into their work, but Leo always does. He enters every contest," she added. "I think he'll go far, and I think with those qualities combined, Leo will be able to do anything."
Leo's poster might be reproduced in AAA traffic safety educational materials, TourBooks and other publications, Alger said.