What “My County” Means To Kids

The winners with Freeholders John Kelly and Gerry Little, county clerk Scott Colabella and surrogate Jeff Moran. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

OCEAN COUNTY – Ocean County clerk Scott Colabella and surrogate Jeff Moran joined Freeholders John Kelly and Gerry Little to award the four best “My County” poster contest winners.

The winners were: first place, Leyna Bohlayer of Forked River School; second place, Christopher Herrera of Oak Street School in Lakewood; third place, Taylor DiMeola of Elms School in Jackson; and honorable mention Mia Fitzgerald of North Dover School in Toms River.

The winners received BlueClaws tickets, passes to the Tuckerton Seaport, and other prizes.

“Every year we do the ‘My County’ poster contest, which is sponsored by the county clerk’s office with the assistance of the county surrogate’s office,” Kelly told a packed room.

Honorable mention winner Mia Fitzgerald of North Dover School, showing off her poster with Freeholder John Kelly. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

The contest changed a bit this year. Rather than the judging taking place in Toms River, the contest was conducted online. More than 19,000 people voted for their favorite from 10 posters from throughout the county.

“We’re all just delighted that you all participated and all the comments that were on the page from the teachers and the parents and family members, brought a lot of excitement which we see here today,” Colabella said. “We know Ocean County is a great place.”

Mia’s poster showed the boardwalk, “because I think it represents Ocean County the best. And I also put some of the places I like to visit.”

Taylor focused her poster on what the county is mostly known for. She focused on some of the municipalities and places around the county – Plumsted, Jackson, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Toms River, Barnegat and Tuckerton Seaport.

Second-place winner Christopher Christopher Herrera of Oak Street School in Lakewood with Freeholder John Kelly, county clerk Scott Colabella, Freeholder Gerry Little and surrogate Jeff Moran. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

Christopher’s family and friends took up several rows in the freeholder meeting room. “First of all, we have the Ocean County Courthouse, which is across the street, and the hammer that the judge’s often use to say ‘court is dismissed.’ And there’s the stick that the police officers use,” he said. His poster also included a lake, American flag, a library book and the county seal.

“When I think of my poster, I think of all the places by the shore that make Ocean County such a great place, like the Barnegat Lighthouse when I drive on my dad’s boat, and on kite night when I see the giant Ferris wheel, and the beach that I just love so much,” Leyna told the audience.