Horizons at Warner Student Wins National Mask Design Contest for Back to School Collection

This school year, children across the country will need to wear masks when social distancing is not possible. To help flatten the curve, Horizons National partnered with fashion company Billie Blooms & Karolina Kurkova to introduce a mask design contest for Horizons students across the country to create a “Back to School” collection that would inspire kids to wear masks.
Sy'Mira mask designNinth grader Sy’Mira W., a student in Horizons at Warner at the University of Rochester, is a winner of the national mask design contest. She is one of five contest winners whose designs have been turned into a mask collection in time for back to school.
This summer, Horizons students across the country were tasked with designing their own mask using a template and adhering to the following themes: What makes me happy and/or proud; What I like best about learning; What inspires me to learn; and What I learned this summer. Horizons National then submitted final designs to Billie Blooms & Karolina Kurkova for consideration based on interpretation of themes, creativity and originality, and overall impression.
Mask designSy’Mira’s design was inspired by her feelings and emotions. The characters in her mask design, she says, depicted feelings of hunger, happiness, anger, sadness and sleepiness. The big bang word was “create,” which made Sy’Mira think of being creative.
maks“Creative is what I like to be, and it motivates me to push toward my goal of being a graphic designer,” she says. “Overall, there were many thoughts and a lot of time that went into this design. This is a collage of my thoughts and creative process. I loved every minute of creating it!”
Sy’Mira, along with her younger brother, has returned year after year to Horizons with a big smile and enthusiasm for learning. A favorite memory of Sy’Mira’s, from the beginnings of Horizons at Warner, has been learning about Black history and different parts of her own culture.
“I like that we are able to think through Black history in a variety of ways,” she adds. “Most importantly, we began creating action plans to bring more awareness of Black history and present to our schools and communities.”
Julia Postler, executive director of Horizons at Warner, says it is always great to see a student succeed and win, but it is especially fantastic when it is a scholar such as Sy’Mira.
“Sy’Mira is a great example of what Horizons at Warner is all about,” says Postler. “She seizes every opportunity at Horizons, whether it is trying something new, working with others to learn, or sharing her own creativity. Sy'Mira initially told her Mom that she did not know if she wanted to do Horizons at Home this summer because she was worried about missing her friends, the teachers, and the traditions. I am really glad she chose to give it a try!”
Horizons at Warner is a six-week, tuition-free, summer academic enrichment program serving over 150 students in kindergarten through eighth grade from the Rochester City School District. One of 62 Horizons National affiliates, Horizons at Warner was the first to be located on a university/college campus. For the past ten summers, Horizons at Warner has been located at the Warner School of Education. Learn more about Horizons at Warner.
Back to school mask bundleThe Horizons Back to School Bundle, created as part of the “Mask for All” initiative, features five masks created by the contest winners—all designed to help inspire students to wear masks in school. The masks are moisture resistant, wrinkle free, and pre-shrunk with an adjustable bead for children, ages four through 15.

As part of the contest, all five winners will also receive a book of their choice and free masks in their design for their household.

The Horizons students' unique, hand-designed masks are now for sale at www.billieblooms.com, with all proceeds going to Horizons enrichment programs nationwide, which help to close the achievement gap in under resourced communities.

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education offers graduate programs in teacher preparation, K-12 school leadership, higher education, education policy, counseling, human development, online teaching and learning, program evaluation, applied behavior analysis, and health professions education. The Warner School also offers PhD programs and an accelerated EdD option that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform. 
Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
(585) 275-0777; (585) 278-6273 (cell)

Tags: COVID-19, Horizons, Horizons at Home, Horizons at Warner, Julia Postler