Kenmore artist teams up with Mr. Yuk for winning poster

Kenmore’s Shelby Cole displays her winning Mr. Yuk poster at home.  - ANDY NYSTROM, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
Kenmore’s Shelby Cole displays her winning Mr. Yuk poster at home.
— image credit: ANDY NYSTROM, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter

Mr. Yuk has a crucial message for kids, and so does Kenmore’s Shelby Cole.

With her catchy slogan — “Don’t be a fool ... Follow Mr. Yuk’s rules!” — and drawing of the green poison-safety mascot, the Arrowhead Elementary sixth-grader recently snagged top honors in the Washington Poison Center’s annual Poison Prevention Week poster contest.

With the victory, the 11-year-old received $500, Mr. Yuk visited Arrowhead and Umpqua Bank will display her poster and sent an ice-cream truck to her school. Cole and her dad also spent one day last week on the capitol campus in Olympia with Mr. Yuk, who has been the state’s symbol of poison safety since 1974.

“I was blown away when I found out (I won),” said Shelby, whose drawing features Mr. Yuk giving a thumb’s down to medicine and poisonous bleach and cleaner and a thumb’s up to fruits, vegetables and milk.

“I think the schools do a really good job, letting them know with the health programs they have, what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s always been something she’s been taught at home, too,” said mom, Keri.

On the fruits and veggies front, Keri said with a laugh, “Oh, we do our best as parents — she knows they’re good for her.”

“I like bananas, apples ... and not much, actually,” said Shelby, matching her mom’s chuckle.

Shelby has dabbled in art for many of her 11 years and started taking it more seriously the last two years. All that hard work and brainstorming for a solid slogan paid off with the Mr. Yuk honor.

“This year, I started taking an art class, and I really like art and I’ve been exploring a lot of it,” said Shelby, who completed her drawing in August after a few days of work.

She admitted that she had to go back to the drawing board a few times to incorporate different ideas into her final product.

“If it’s not perfect, she won’t have it. That’s one thing about Shelby, it has to be just right... it worked,” Keri said.

Aside from art, Shelby plays soccer and basketball and runs cross country and track. Keri added that her daughter is a good student who enjoys math and writing (“You can express your creativity,” Shelby said).

As a tie-in with her recent visit to Olympia, Shelby said she might want to be a chief justice someday. She’s got a head start, since she’s been a judge during her school’s “pretend city” activities.

“It’s just a neat experience for her. You couldn’t ask for a more positive thing to happen for her right now,” Keri said.

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