By Michael Smit
Staff WriterThose driving north on South China Lake Boulevard will be treated to a new billboard designed by Gateway Elementary third grader Evelyn MacNeil. The billboard is designed to promote water conservation. It features a picture of a superhero, an hour glass dripping water, and large letters saying “Save Water.” It appears to have been originally drawn in crayon.
The idea for the billboard came about when Sun Outdoor Advertising partnered with IWV Water District to put the billboard up. IWVWD general manager Don Zdeba said that Sun Outdoor Advertising put the billboard up free of charge as part of the company’s community outreach program.
MacNeil’s picture was chosen from a pool of many drawings submitted by elementary students around Ridgecrest. Zdeba told the Daily Independent that the water district invited schools in the Sierra Sands Unified School District to take part in a contest to win the spot on the billboard.
The contest received multiple individual submissions, as well as two classes participating from Gateway Elementary and one class from Ridgecrest Charter School.
Junior division first place winner Geoffry Brown performs in the Exchange Club Search for Talent May 13 at the Old Town Theater. Over 25 acts competed for 9 prizes in three categories. Brown took home a trophy and $200 in prize money for his performance.Zdeba said that, to choose the winner, both Todd Hansen of Sun Outdoor Advertising and staff from the water district chose their list of top five pictures from the pool of submissions, then decided on a winner from that list.
MacNeil won the space on the billboard, but many other students also got the chance to put their water conservation art on display. Zdeba said they also printed a 16 month calendar featuring MacNeil’s picture on the month of January, then art from 15 other students on the other months. He stated that the water district is giving away the calendars at their office at 500 W Ridgecrest Blvd.
The billboard currently stands at the northeast quarter of the intersection between S China Lake Boulevard and Bowman Road, facing south. It will stay there for two more weeks until that billboard location needs to be cleared away, at which point MacNeil’s billboard will more to Inyokern Road through the rest of the Summer. At the end of the Summer, Sun Outdoor Advertising will donate it to Gateway Elementary.