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More than 8,228 elementary school students from across the state showed off their artistic talent in an effort to keep Texas highways litter-free by entering the Don’t mess with TexasElementary School Art Contest. Keep Texas Beautiful and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) selected 13 winning entries to appear in the 2016 Don’t mess with Texas Calendar.

TxDOT and Keep Texas Beautiful organize the contest as a way to motivate young Texans to help keep the state beautiful by not littering and by encouraging others to protect Texas roadways and its environment from unsightly trash. The contest was open to Texas elementary school students enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade, and sponsored by H-E-B and Central Market. Students submitted their best designs that promoted the Don’t mess with Texasor Keep Texas Beautiful litter prevention slogans.

“It’s incredible how much we can learn from the thought and creativity of these students,” said De J. Lozada, travel information division director at TxDOT. “We’re proud that this contest calendar highlights the talent of these bright young Texans while encouraging us all to do our part to ensure that our beautiful state also continues to shine.”

Students selected to have their artwork featured in the calendar include first-grader Santiago Lozano, who is home-schooled in Plano.

Each of the 13 winning designs will be featured in the 2016 Don’t mess with Texas Calendar. Third-grader Lozano’s artwork was chosen from among the 13 winning entries to be featured on the calendar cover. Each winner will receive an iDeaUSA 8 tablet donated by H-E-B and Central Market.

“I am always amazed at the artistic talent demonstrated by some of our state’s youngest residents,” said Cathie Gail, executive director of Keep Texas Beautiful. “We had a tough time narrowing the entries down to just 13 winning designs. Their hard work on these beautiful entries helps us remind all Texans about the importance of putting litter where it belongs—in a trash can—and not along our roadsides.”

All student winners will be showcased on the Don’t mess with Texas and Keep Texas Beautiful websites, and at the 2015 Keep Texas Beautiful annual conference in June. Teachers representing students who produce the top 13 designs will win a $100 H-E-B and Central Market gift card.

For information, visit DontMesswithTexas.org.

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