A new anti-litter billboard campaign created by three students in Hamilton County schools will be installed this week as part of the Hamilton SHINES Program.
The program, now in its seventh year, was initiated by the county mayor's office to help reduce the practice of littering through education and law enforcement.
Each year, a design contest is conducted through area public elementary, middle and high schools in Hamilton County to find a winner for the billboard campaign.
The program also includes a classroom component where students participate in a comprehensive program that raises awareness about littering and enlists their help in changing the littering behaviors of others at home and in their communities.
Teachers and students discuss why people litter, sources of litter and the effects of litter on the environment.
Organizers said the billboard design contest is the program's most successful effort.
This year's winners are Tania Doola, a Battle Academy third-grader; Chloe Eisdorfer, a Normal Park Museum Magnet school seventh-grader; and Austin Norton, a 10th-grader enrolled at Hamilton County Middle College High School at Chattanooga State.
Norton, 16, is also on track to graduate a year early. His guidance counselor, Amy Blazek, said she had no idea of his artistic abilities until she received his contest submission.
Blazek said Norton is currently not enrolled in any art or design classes and is carrying a full course load of academic core classes in order to graduate early.
"Within days of sending out an email about Hamilton SHINES, he had his entry submitted and ready to go. He only just recently decided he would like to have a career in architecture or design," Blazek said.
Each of the winning designs will be made into a billboard that will be posted near each student's school.
The contest is co-sponsored by the Scenic Cities Beautiful Commission and the Hamilton County Character Education Program.