FORT BRAGG, N.C. - In the era of after-school activities, dual working parents and other activities that leave our society with less time than they ever had before, no one is thinking about a disaster or emergency situation.

Fort Bragg, in honor of the seventh annual National Preparedness Month in September, sponsored a "Get Ready Fort Bragg" essay and art contest last month for Fort Bragg elementary and junior high school students.

"Get Ready Fort Bragg," is based off the "Ready Campaign," a program that encourages Americans to be prepared in the case of an emergency situation at home, work or within the community.

Junior high school students were required to write a 500-word essay describing the steps to take in an emergency. Elementary students were required to create artwork detailing their plans in the event of an emergency.

Holbrook Elementary School had 11 students participate in the contest this year and was rewarded for it in the school library Friday.

Holbrook Elementary School principal, Wanda Mckinzy, thanked the students for putting forth the effort. "It was a proud moment. I am very humbled," she said.

Mckinzy gave most of the credit to Holbrook Elementary's art teacher, Melinda Sugarick, for making sure the children participated and got their artwork turned in. Sugarick said she was determined to make sure the students got involved.

"You know, a lot of people don't think about being prepared at home, I mean (at school) we have fire drills, tornado drills, all kinds of drills. But what do you do when the kids are at home'" Sugarick said.

"They (the kids) are just these bright, brilliant little minds looking for ways to express themselves in a meaningful way."

Eight students were presented with medals of appreciation and three were awarded first, second and third place medals.

"It starts with the children, and when you get children involved early on with a program like this, as they grow up, it increase awareness. It's (the contest) just fun, and it's a great thing for the parents as well." said Steven England deputy director, Fort Bragg Directorate of Plans, Training, and Mobilization.

Fourth grader, Adriana Morales, this year's first place winner, was all smiles after the ceremony. Her mother, Illiana said that Adriana uses art to express herself. Her ability seems to have come in quite handy for the 2010 "Get Ready Fort Bragg" contest.

Morales drew an emergency bag that put her in first place. She said the best part of the contest was being rewarded for all her hard work.

"I like it (the contest) because I won first place. I am happy."

For more information about National Preparedness Month and how you and your Family can be prepared, visit the Ready Campaign website at