In a gymnasium packed with all her fellow students at All Saints Academy in St. Cloud, third-grader Raegan Lieser was presented May 29 with a framed print of the winning artwork she entered in the Knights of Columbus, “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest.
“We are so proud of Raegan,” said ASA principal Paula Leider. “She’s such a talented artist. The art that she created in this poster is exuded in her daily life. This is the kind of child she is. She is caring, compassionate, she loves everybody, she is considerate towards everybody. She is the epitome of what her poster demonstrated.”
Lieser submitted her drawing — an image of Mary tenderly cradling the newborn Jesus in front of a vibrantly colored stained-glass window — with the help of her art teacher, Ellen Detra.
Detra, who has taught art for 30 years, encouraged students to participate in the contest. She said Lieser used a combination of crayons, watercolors and oil pastels to bring her art to life.
Lieser added the words, “Jesus is the gift,” as her theme. The art earned first place in her age group of 8 to 10 year-olds in Minnesota and second place nationwide in the same age category.
“I wanted to do something about Mary and about Jesus being born. And I like stained glass,” Lieser said. “I chose the words, ‘Jesus is the gift’ because Jesus is the gift that God gave us. Christmas isn’t only about gifts, it’s about that Jesus was born.”
And that is the message the national contest hopes to spread. The Knights of Columbus encourage all young people ages 5-14 to participate in the contest to help everyone think about the true meaning of Christmas. More information can be found at kofc.org or by contacting individual councils.
On hand to present the award to Lieser as well as a monetary prize were Bob Penas, Knights state deputy director; Tom Winkelman, program director for the poster contest in the parishes of St. Paul, St. Peter and St. Anthony in St. Cloud; and St. Cloud Knight Conrad Meier.
“With secularism in the world today, the Knights want to keep in front of children and adults what the real meaning of Christmas is about and that is keeping Christ in Christmas,” Penas said.
All Saints Academy is part of the newly formed Catholic Community Schools in the St. Cloud and surrounding areas.
“We get to participate in these types of activities exclusively because we are a Catholic school,” Leider said. “The ability to speak about God, to share our faith, pervades every part of what we do all day long, and it is part of why our students can be so inspired to create art like this.”