SHERIDAN — Faith Hinton didn’t want to get her hopes up after entering a poster contest last December.
“I didn’t think I was going to win,” said Hinton, a fifth-grade student at Woodland Park Elementary.
However, once her classmates started telling her they believed she would earn the top prize, her excitement grew.
“When I did figure out I had won, I was really ecstatic,” Hinton said.
Hinton was awarded $200 for earning first place in the division of grades 3-6 for her poster depicting radon awareness. The Wyoming Cancer Program, a division of the Wyoming Department of Health, sponsors a statewide contest annually.
“The radon component of the Wyoming Cancer Program provides information to Wyoming residents, contractors, and real estate agents about radon,” according to its website.
Hinton’s classroom was also awarded $100, which has been used to establish a classroom library in Hinton’s name. Hinton credited her teacher, Sara Stevens, with the idea.
“I thought that was a great idea because I love to read,” Hinton said. “I got to eat lunch with Ms. Stevens, and we ordered books from Amazon.”
All the books are adorned with stickers that read, “This book belongs to the Faith Hinton Library in Ms. Stevens’ room.”
Both Hinton and Stevens agreed it would be “a special touch” for the library to have Faith’s name attached.
While Stevens was helping Hinton decide how to spend the classroom prize money, Stevens suggested “something where Faith could leave her stamp on our room.” Stevens also mentioned how thoughtful Hinton has been as the curator of her namesake library.
“She reads every book jacket cover before it enters the library. She doesn’t just look at its cover and decide,” Stevens said.
Prior to the contest, Hinton admitted she didn’t know what radon was. But Stevens taught her students with supplemental materials about radon that came with the invitation to participate.
“I used that to teach the kids about what radon is and why it has an impact in our area. I even learned through the process; it was eye-opening for everybody,” Stevens said.
Hinton explained that she learned radon is a naturally occurring gas which comes out the earth and can get trapped in people’s homes. If they keep breathing it in, it can eventually cause lung cancer.
Hinton said that this knowledge influenced her winning poster’s design.
“Radon comes out of the earth, so I thought it would be cool to have the earth cracked in half,” Hinton said.
“I want people to know that it can be very harmful, and that it’s actually very common in a lot of areas, including Sheridan. Our class looked at a map, and it’s all over the United States, which is crazy to think about,” Hinton said.
The Wyoming Department of Health offers free radon test kits.
Visit online or call 307-777-6015 to request a kit.
Article by Darci Petersen
For The Sheridan Press