News

York-area students take on heroin crisis with billboards

Written by Flint McColgan, York Daily Record | Apr 23, 2016 6:25 AM
635967521932558544-YDR-CD-042016-heroin-billboards-2.jpg

Photo by Chris Dunn, York Daily Record

York County Chief Deputy Prosecutor David Sunday, second from right, displays a winning billboard art entry by William Penn senior Sherby Hector, second from left, after a York County Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday, in William Penn's library. The York County Heroin Task Force partnered with York County schools, Lamar Advertising and Penn Waste to sponsor a Heroin Awareness Billboard Contest, for which almost 20 students submitted art to warn against heroin use.

(York) -- York County high school students students are taking a stand against heroin. Or, rather, two very tall stands.

The York County Heroin Task Force revealed the two winners among the nearly 20 entries in its billboard design contest Wednesday at William Penn Senior High School in York following a special meeting of the York County Board of Commissioners.

The posters will be spread across 10 to 12 billboards around York County that will be up for a four- to six-month timeline starting in the summer that can be increased if feedback is positive, said Tom Loper, a vice president of Lamar Advertising Company in York. The cost will be split between Lamar and Penn Waste.

"The purpose of the contest was to engage students around York County and to try to think of a way to get the word out about how bad heroin is in York County," said David Sunday, the chief deputy prosecutor at the York County District Attorney's office. "One of the things we learned as adults is we're not quite as creative as kids."

The two 17-year-old winners, Sherby Hector, a senior at William Penn Senior High School, and Jack Korver, a junior at York Suburban high School, presented a fundamentally different take on the issue that task force member and county Coroner Pam Gay said could create appreciation from "a broader population for both billboards."

Hector's piece shows a man split in two by a heroin syringe. One half shows a face full of color and life, the other shows a gray, cracked face, broken. It encourages a reader to "Put the needles DOWN! Say no. Live life to the fullest. Choose your side."

"I know so many people who lost somebody to heroin so I wanted to appeal to their emotions so people will stop using heroin," he said of his piece.

635967521941450601-YDR-CD-042016-heroin-billboards-4.jpg

Photo by Chris Dunn, York Daily Record

York Suburban junior Jack Korver holds up a miniature billboard displaying his winning art entry for a portrait after a York County Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday

Korver's face, with a white background and silhouette figures composed of bright colors encourages readers to "Sing & Dance" because "Heroin's not worth the chance."

"We were really trying to find alternatives to taking drugs and stuff like that and most people are going to want to sing and dance when music is playing," Korver said. "So instead of turning to heroin they can turn on the radio and just start jamming."

"One of the goals that we have is education of the community and changing thought processes of young people. Who better to do that then young people themselves?" said District Attorney Tom Kearney. "We realized that this needs to come from those who were most effected."

Hector and Korver each received a miniature version of their billboards from Lamar but despite their success and what Sunday termed their "mini-Oscars," neither wants to pursue a career in graphic design.

Hector, inspired by popular television personality Dr. Oz, said he will attend King's College in Wilkes-Barre to become a physician's assistant to continue his work to help people. Korver, a trumpet player, wants to continue his studies in music.

This story is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News

Tagged under , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »