HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - St. James Middle School student Tiffany Duong earned recognition for excelling in school while winning a local and statewide art contest for peace.
Duong competed in the Lion's Club Peace Poster contest. She said she worked on her entry for over 10 hours, and like any seventh grader, her best work came to her the night before it was due.
"I might be a little bit too cocky, but at first I thought I was going to win the school, but I never knew I was going to win district, or state," Duong said. "I honestly thought there were so much more better artists than me."
Duong's poster was submitted by the South Strand Lion's Club for District 32C. Each year, Lion's Clubs worldwide sponsor the international Peace Poster Contest for local schools.
The club's South Carolina newsletter said for more than 25 years, millions of children from over 100 different countries have submitted pieces for the contest. The theme for this year was, specifically, "The future of peace."
"Since I'm not good at landscapes and stuff, I decided to draw people," Duong said.
The budding artists focuses on anime drawings and is self-taught.
In crafting her poster, Duong showed children fighting, but their adult selves at peace.
She said the bluish people at the bottom of the poster are children who are not being nice to one another. In contrast, the colorful, happy-looking characters above them are their older selves who have learned the importance of respect.
The poster idea came from a poem Tiffany made up in third grade, which said, "Peace is harmony, harmony is peace, being at one, and
fighting at the least."
Olga Toggas, the principal for St. James Middle School, said Duong's creative abilities also help her excel in the classroom.
"What's really neat about her is she recognizes that not everything is easy, but she has patience and perseverance, and we see it in so many different ways," Toggas said.
Duong is all about promoting peace and showing it through her art.
"It's just better that way," she said. "Why would we have to fight if we could all just be happy?"
St. James Middle School will honor Duong in the near future with an award.