GLOVERSVILLE — Michelle Millett, a Gloversville High School senior, was among the 12 winners of the statewide Kids Safe Online poster contest organized by the state Office of Information Technology Services.
Winners of the annual Kids Safe Online poster contest were selected from more than 850 entries submitted by 125 schools across the state.
The statewide contest is hosted in conjunction with the Center for Internet Security’s Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center’s national poster contest.
The contest was open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, with three winning posters selected from grade levels kindergarten to second, third to fifth, sixth to eighth and ninth to 12th.
Each of the winning posters will be featured in the 2019 New York State Kids Safe Online calendar and they will be submitted to the national contest. Each of the 12 winning students from the state received a plaque and an enlarged print of their poster.
The goal of the contest that has been held each year since 2005 is to get young people thinking about cyber security by making posters depicting ways to use the internet safely and securely.
Millett said on Thursday that the message of the contest is important for everyone, not just students.
“Currently, technology is becoming more advanced and while technology is getting better, the way people can hack or steal identity is becoming advanced as well. I feel like people should be aware of that. Yeah, technology might be good, going on the internet and all, but you should be careful,” Millett said.
Millett’s poster shows four people dressed in black from head to toe, with glowing white eyes, surrounding a fifth person, also dressed in black, but with his face uncovered. The man is sitting in front of a computer with a worried look across his face.
The poster reads, “Once your info is out everyone knows. Stay safe online.”
Millett said that a list of cyber security issues were included with the contest details, including one that she felt was the most serious, identity theft. With her poster, Millett said she wanted to convey to viewers that they could become the unmasked man if they aren’t careful.
The poster features semi-realistic figures drawn and colored with ink pens and markers on poster board. Millett described her artwork as a comic book style, mixed somewhere in between reality and a cartoon.
She made the poster as part of an assignment in the advertise and design art class, taught by Kari Laubscher. Once the assignment was complete it was up to the individual students to decide if they wanted to submit their work to the contest. Millett said most students chose to participate in this and a few other contests that were connected to class assignments.
Millett said she was surprised when Laubscher recently told her she had won the contest she had entered months earlier.
“I put my effort into it and a lot of work, but I still didn’t expect that I was going to win,” Millett said. “I’m glad though. I’m grateful for that.”
Entering the contest is an opportunity that might not have been available to Millett in the past. She moved into the school district two years ago from Ravena where she attended Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School.
Millett said that she liked the small school, but GHS offers more options including advanced placement classes for college credit and a variety of art classes.
“I don’t know that I would have been able to do the same classes as I take here,” Millett said.
Millett has taken advantage of the course options taking A.P. English and United States history last year and A.P. English and biology this year, as well as Syracuse University Project Advance courses.
Millett said that her two favorite subjects are art and science.
“In art, unlike other classes, there might be certain rules, but you can express things differently,” Millett said. “Each person can have their own expression of drawing or painting and whatever the outcome is other people can make their own meaning of it as well. It doesn’t only express the artist, it also can be the expression of whoever is seeing it.”
Art runs in her family; Millett’s mother and grandmother made art throughout their lives. She has a connection to science through her family too, with family members on her mother’s side practicing medicine and dentistry in their home country, Indonesia.
Millett said that her mother moved to the United States from Indonesia 19 years ago, but the rest of her family still lives there. Millett and her family travel to Indonesia to visit their family every few years. When she graduates later this year, Millett is planning to attend a four year college to pursue a major in nursing, partially inspired by her relatives’ careers.
“I don’t want to go through all this schooling and then just do nothing, I want to use it for good. For the benefit of others. I find science in general interesting, but that’s why I like nursing because I could also care for others,” Millett said. “I admire people who do that.”