A nationwide editorial-cartoon contest testing students' observational, creative, satirical, and artistic talents has elicited more than 9,000 entries from the next generation of Herblocks, Oliphants, and Trudeaus.
"Newscurrents," a current-events program used in some 10,000 schools, is sponsoring the contest to encourage students to think critically about national and international issues.
"Our feeling is that the editorial cartoon is a different kind of educational medium," said Jonathan Baruch, editor of the program. Drawing helps students to "think about an issue and their own views of it, as well as to think about the language of cartoons and the techniques used to express an idea," he added.
Soon after the contest closes at the end of the month, members of the "Newscurrents" editorial staff will begin the difficult task of selecting winners. "We have plenty to select from," said Mr. Baruch of the entries, which cover such issues and events as the deficit, Afghanistan, the environment, and last fall's riveting debate confrontation between the Vice Presidential candidates, Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen.
One first-prize winner and two second-prize winners will be selected in each of three age categories from kindergarten to 12th grade. The top prize is a $100 savings bond; second place carries with it a $50 savings bond.
If the contest is a success, Mr. Baruch said, the task of judging submissions may someday be turned over to a panel of professional cartoonists.--jw