Delisle wins national art contest

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18 December 2012

WALLAGRASS- Austin Delisle, a third-grader at Wallagrass Elementary School, has brought national attention to the area by placing first in an art contest the popular clothing chain Aeropostale held.

Austin's award4

Austin Delisle and his winning design

On Friday, Dec. 7, with his family on hand, the student body, faculty and staff at WES surprised Austin with a small ceremony congratulating him on his accomplishment. His parents Tammy and Travis Delisle held the secret of Austin's first place finish from him for weeks in order to facilitate the surprise.

Austin's award from Aeropostale includes a $500 gift certificate for him, as well as a $1,000 cash prize to his school. Additional prizes include free Aeropostale t-shirts for all of Austin's classmates and 50 free t-shirts portraying Austin's design to give out to family and friends.

Aeropostale will send representatives to Wallagrass in February or March to formally present Austin and the school with their awards.

Tammy Delisle entered her son's drawing, which he created to pass boredom on a car ride to Bangor, to the Aeropostale website's “P.S What Makes You Smile” contest.

The contest called for students in grades one through five to design a t-shirt. They decided the winner of each grade based on how many votes his or her design received on the website.

Upon learning of her son's success, Tammy Delisle recalled, "I was shocked...I was so excited for him and just as excited for Wallagrass Elementary."

Austin's dad, SAD 27 physical education teacher Travis Delisle, seemed lost for words at the ceremony. Beaming with pride, he simply looked at his son and said, "Oh, my."

Wallagrass Principal Jay Charette was also thrilled to learn about the win. 

"I am extremely excited, not just for the school but for Austin." he said. Charette also expressed his pride that "little tiny Wallagrass got a contest winner."

Charette says the school plans on investing the $1,000 prize money into technology products needed for Austin's classroom.

This is not the first art contest win for Austin. Last winter he placed in his division for the Can Am sled dog art contest. In addition, Austin's brother Caleb has also found success as an artist. In 2009, Caleb won third place in a national art contest held by the company Land's End, which netted him a $100 gift certificate.

When asked how he became such a good artist, despite never having taken an art lesson, Austin smiled and pointed at his mom. He also said, when asked how he felt about finding out that he had won the contest, "I feel good."

Aeropostale officially recognized Austin's design online as of Dec. 10 at pswhatmakesyousmile.com.