Jessica Gus artistic skills will be on display before every basketball fan in town for the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament this week.
The conference sponsored an art contest during the last week of February for all fifth-graders in Bibb County schools. Jessica, 10, sent in an entry displaying the logos of all 10 A-Sun teams around the conference logo.
Jessica said her teacher told the students that most other entries probably would focus on Mercer University, since thats where the tournament will be held this week.
I was thinking, All the teams were great too, so why not do all of them? Jessica said.
Craig Threlkeld, A-Suns director of public relations, walked down the hall of Springdale Elementary with Principal Amy Duke to writing teacher Deborah Russ classroom Tuesday. Thats where Jessica sat at a long table near the back.
Im very happy to announce that Jessica Gu is the winner, Threlkeld said. The other students clapped and cheered, but Jessica just smiled and hugged her friend Kira Miller, who sat next to her.
Then Jessica walked to the front of the room to get a copy of the tournament program from Threlkeld. Her artwork was printed on the cover.
Not only will her entry grace the cover of this years tournament programs, but Jessica won four tickets to Six Flags, four tickets to any one championship game and a prize pack of gear from A-Sun conference teams, Threlkeld said.
The contest attracted two dozen entries, he said. Runners-up are Katie Kosowski, Stephanie Matlock and Katie Beth Threlkeld -- Craig Threlkelds daughter -- all of Springdale; Helen ODell of Alexander II Elementary; and Eujin Pyon of Heard Elementary.
The runners-up will get a ticket to one conference game and a prize pack from A-Sun teams, Threlkeld said.
Everyone who submitted an entry gets a ticket to the championship as well, he said.
Threlkeld said contest judges were Stephanie Hartley, a school district public relations specialist; Ben Sapp, managing director of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame; and Stephanie Robinson, director of marketing at the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Threlkeld said the contest idea came from Springdales annual yearbook cover design competition. The conference was looking for a way to engage with the school system and community, he said. Now A-Sun looks forward to doing more with Bibb County schools.
They were very receptive, great partners with us, even on short notice, Threlkeld said.
Jessica said this is the first art contest shes entered except for ones within her school.
I really do like drawing, even if Im not that good at it sometimes, she said. Its one of my favorite things to do.
Russ said Jessica also is on the school math team and is one of Springdales best writers.
She does it all, Russ said.
Jessica also likes watching basketball.
I go with my dad sometimes to Mercer games, she said.
Jessica thanked her parents, Mengcao and David Gu, for encouraging her in the art contest.
My mom let me stay up on the last night to finish coloring this, she said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.