Two Howell HS students get honors in Auto Show poster contest

Kirsten Smith and Kellen Walburn won honors in the annual Auto Show Poster Contest.

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Two Howell High School graphics arts students have earned honors in the 31st Annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Poster Contest. Kellen Walburn, a senior, won the Best Theme Award, and Kirsten Smith, a sophomore claimed second place in the 10th Grade Award. Both Walburn and Smith received a $250 cash prize. Additionally, their poster designs will be displayed at the 2019 NAIAS and are posted on the NAIAS website. This year’s NAIAS poster contest drew more than 750 entries from over 55 Michigan schools.

Kellen Walburn’s design earned the Best Theme Award.

“I first came up with the idea to make an old vintage poster design with the rough torn edges, and then I talked to Mr. Mozdzizerz about it, and he said what if we did something like a stamp,” said Walbrun. “Once he (Mozdzizerz ) started playing the trumpets over the speakers to make the grand announcement, my heart was pounding really hard, and then when mine popped up, there was immediate relief and it was exciting in a way.”

Walburn used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create his poster design.

Kirsten Smith won second place in the 10th Grade Award for her poster.

Using Adobe Illustrator, Smith created her design by blending the letters of NAIAS into one image. “I wanted to do something different that I had never seen before. I knew that geometric design was one of my favorite things ever, so I wanted to incorporate that into my design. I was shocked and so happy that I won,” said Smith.

Both Walburn and Smith feel that the poster contest is a great way to get students involved in and excited about the auto industry.

“This is a great accomplishment for both Kellen and Kirsten, and they should both be very proud of their designs. The NAIAS poster contest is very competitive and always draws outstanding designs,” said John Mozdzierz, Howell High School graphic arts teacher.

“This next generation’s creativity and talent is unparalleled from what we’ve ever seen before, and I feel honored to be a part of an organization giving students a platform to let that talent shine,” said Bill Golling, 2019 NAIAS Chairman in a press release issued by the NAIAS. “Each submission showcased the student’s ability to use their imagination and create something entirely their own. Picking winners was certainly a tough decision.”

The NAIAS Poster Contest was established to engage the creative minds of Michigan’s Future artists. The contest is open to all Michigan sophomore, junior, and senior students. The posters were reviewed and judged by the 2019 NAIAS Chairman, a General Motors automotive designer, a College for Creative Studies instructor and State Farm representatives. All of this year’s winning designs can be found at

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