Milford girl wins River Sweep contest

March 29th, 2012    Author: Kristin Bednarski    Filed Under: News

Rhiannon Perkins, left, a sixth grader at Mulberry Elementary, was a grand prize winner in the Ohio River Sweep poster contest. Jeanne Ison, right, presents Perkins with her design, which will be featured on the T-shirts given to volunteers.

When Rhiannon Perkins went to school March 23, she had no idea that in the middle of class she would be recognized for her artwork that will now be featured on more than 2,000 T-shirts at the Ohio River Sweep June 16.

“It is really exciting,” Perkins said. “I didn’t know anyone was coming.”

Perkins, a sixth grade student at Mulberry Elementary School in Milford, submitted her artwork to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission’s Ohio River Sweep poster contest in December of last year and was selected as one of the grand-prize winners.

“Top prizes are the T-shirt winner and poster winner,” Jeannie Ison, project director of the Ohio River Sweep said.

Ison said the contest is open to students in the six states that boarder the Ohio River including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. She said more than 2,000 students entered the contest this year.

“You are so surprised by what children come up with,” Ison said about the contest. “What better way to see how kids look at pollution in the river than through their eyes.”

She said winners of the contest were selected in January, and this year, judges from Louisville selected winners for both the T-shirt contest and poster contest.

Perkins was announced as the T-shirt winner and Zeke Freshour of Sandyville, West Virginia, was announced as the poster winner.

“It makes me proud that a student was able to be recognized for her talents,” Brian Zawodny, principal of Mulberry Elementary, said about Perkins’ accomplishment.

Ison said the grand prize winners received a check for $500 and their designs are used for posters and T-shirts for the 2012 Ohio River Sweep.

Ison and Zawodny surprised Perkins with her award money, as well as the first T-shirt printed with her design, while she was in class March 23.

Perkins said she came up with her artwork after driving by the Ohio River with her parents. She said the river, as well as trash in a trash bag, inspired her design, and it took her about two days to complete her entry.

She said she had no idea she would be selected as the grand prize winner, and also did not expect to be surprised in class.

“It feels awesome,” Perkins said after seeing her design on the T-shirt. “I really appreciate it.”

For more information about the Ohio River Sweep visit

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