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Two Lompoc Valley Middle School students are winners of an international art contest aimed at eliminating bullying.

The Be Kind Coloring and Poster Contest, which was organized by Safe Fleet as part of its United to End Bullying program, generated 2,878 entries from across North America, according to Safe Fleet. LVMS eighth-grader Rubi Angulo was named the winner of the Grade 8-9 poster contest, while fellow LVMS eighth-grader Elda Deluna was runner-up in the same category.

For her first-place finish, Angulo was awarded a $50 Amazon gift card and the contest organizers also made a $500 grant donation to the Where Everybody Belongs, or WEB, program at LVMS.

Deluna’s runner-up finish resulted in an additional $100 grant for the LVMS WEB program, which aims to make incoming seventh-graders feel comfortable as they enter middle school. The program, which for the past three years has included a monthly Kindness campaign, is led by eighth-graders who serve as positive role models for the underclassmen.

“We are proud of all that our WEB leaders do to build a positive climate and culture here at LVMS and thrilled that their work has been awarded with the two grants totaling $600,” LVMS Principal Schel Brown said. “These funds will help Mrs. (Felicia) Tripp and her WEB students to explore and fund additional activities to promote the LVMS WEB Kindness campaign.”

Angulo’s winning artwork featured a picture of Earth with text above it reading “Paint The World With Kindness” and continuing below the planet with “And Stop Bullying.” The word “Kindness” is written over a rainbow that was created by a paintbrush stroke at the top of the globe.

Deluna’s artwork featured text that read “Show Some Kindness & STOP bullying” above a drawing of several children of various ethnicities holding hands.

Of the thousands of entries in the Be Kind Coloring and Poster Contest, just 11 were chosen as prize winners by finishing in first place or as a runner-up.

The LVMS students were the lone winners from California. Other winners included students from New Jersey, Minnesota, North Carolina, Hawaii and Canada.

Safe Fleet is a company that provides safety solutions for fleet vehicles “with a vision to keep communities safe,” according to the company, which added, the United to End Bullying program aims to create “safe and respectful environments.” 

“Providing students with the education and support to be resilient and put an end to bullying are essential in today’s schools,” said Bob Parks, Safe Fleet’s vice president of human resources and executive sponsor of the United to End Bullying program. “Teaching students that when a peer speaks up for a classmate being bullied, the bullying stops within 10 seconds 57 percent of the time, is a strong defense for abusive behavior.”

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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