Nicole Tanner

At ASPIRE, I get to do things that I can't do at school like draw and paint and I can see my friends that I don't get to see at school.

Ten-year-old Nicole Tanner from the Birdville Independent School District’s After School Program Inspiring and Reinforcing Education (ASPIRE) drew the winning design for the 12th annual  Lights On Afterschool poster contest. Nicole’s artwork was chosen from over 1,000 entries submitted by afterschool students from around the country. In addition to having her design displayed on thousands of posters from coast to coast, Nicole has also won a free trip to Washington, D.C., courtesy of American Airlines. 

I started drawing when I was six years old. Watching my grandma and my older brother Tyson draw together made me want to start drawing myself. I started to teach myself how to draw by watching step-by-step videos on YouTube. I’ve now been a part of the ASPIRE program for one year. At ASPIRE, I get to do things that I can’t do at school like draw and paint and I can see my friends that I don’t get to see at school. Once I started drawing at ASPIRE last year, everybody in my class wanted me to draw something for them. I would draw butterflies growing up from caterpillars.

At ASPIRE, I’ve also gotten to try computers and photography. I like taking pictures of pretty flowers. But of all the creative things I’ve gotten to try at ASPIRE, I like painting the best because I get to draw what I want. I like to draw peace signs and trees with vines growing around them. One of my favorite things to draw is Hello Kitty.

To me, the most exciting part about winning the Lights On Afterschool poster contest was finding out I won the trip to Washington, D.C. I’ve never been on a plane before, and I’m excited to see where the President lives and visit the Lincoln Memorial. My whole family is coming with me.

America's Afterschool Storybook tells the stories of people and communities transformed by afterschool programs.

The Afterschool Alliance launched the Storybook to help commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the only federal initiative dedicated to supporting community afterschool programs.

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Gretchen Wright