By Michele Vowell Fort Campbell CourierOctober 23, 2015
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Barsanti Elementary School second grader Janelle Alicea loves to draw. She participates in her school's Art Club after school once a week.
The 7-year-old daughter of Bertha and Staff Sgt. Joel Alicea used her skills with markers and colored pencils to create the grand prize-winning entry in the 2015 Fort Campbell Fire Prevention Week poster contest.
Her poster features a little girl asleep in her bedroom at night when the smoke alarm goes off. The drawing includes this year's Fire Prevention Week theme, "Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP, every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm."
"Her entry jumped right out at me," said Chris Foster, assistant chief of prevention, Fort Campbell Fire and Emergency Services. "Two things: it was a phenomenal picture, I thought. It captured the theme.
But, it also told me that the parents sat down and possibly … had a conversation about what would we do if we had [a fire] in our home."
Janelle said her poster illustrates an important lesson -- to leave your home immediately when the smoke alarm sounds.
"When you hear the beep you have to wake up and tell Mom. That means there's a fire," she said. "I call my Mom and call 9-1-1."
The National Fire Prevention Week was Oct. 4-10 this year. Fort Campbell's observance was Sept. 21-25 because of the installation schools' fall break.
Fort Campbell firefighters and fire officials spent the week encouraging students and Families to test smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries when Daylight Savings Time changes to standard time at 2 a.m. Nov. 1 this year.
Janelle's poster was selected from dozens of entries submitted by Fort Campbell School system students in grades 1-5. Her poster first won the top prize at Barsanti Elementary in order to advance to the grand prize-round. Of the 25 first-place winners from all the post schools, Janelle's entry was selected by Fort Campbell firefighters as the grand-prize winner.
For her overall winning poster, Janelle received a large trophy and a $100 gift card. She also took the ride of her young life in a Fort Campbell fire truck.
Installation firefighters and officials arrived at her house in the early morning Oct. 8 where she was presented with her awards.
"I got to ride in the fire truck. I was really excited. I get to put on the headphones and talk to them," she said "We went around the block so that my mom could record me and then we went to the school."
Seated in the front of the fire truck, Janelle was escorted from her on-post home to the parking lot of her school. At Barsanti, Janelle's classmates greeted her upon her arrival.
"They were clapping, yelling, jumping and they said 'congratulations'," Janelle said smiling.
Not only did she ride in the fire truck, the young girl said she also got to climb the emergency vehicle's ladder.
"I was so scared," she said about being high off of the ground. "I saw the whole neighborhood."
Janelle's second grade teacher Anne Weems said she is proud of her student's accomplishment for Fire Prevention Week.
"Janelle has always shown a talent in art so I'm not surprised she won the poster contest," she said.