The Crusader Newspaper Group

Safety contest winners honored in ceremony

Metra contest brings train safety lessons into the home and classroom

Winners of Metra’s 2019 Safety Poster and Essay Contest were honored at the monthly meeting of the Metra Board of Directors.

Sixteen first-place winners from across Metra’s six-county service area were introduced and presented with plaques and iPads in recognition of their efforts to promote train safety.

“The cornerstone of this campaign has been to increase public awareness of the importance of safe behaviors around railroad tracks,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “These talented students used their creativity to help us reinforce this safety message not just with their peers, but with everyone in the region who interacts with the railroad.”

The contest is designed to promote and reinforce railroad safety messages and keep the region’s children safe around trains. In its 13th year, more than 1,900 students from 222 schools across the region participated, creating artwork and writing essays around the theme “Use Your Senses: Look Listen Live.”

Metra’s Safety Contest invites students in grades K-12 to submit poster designs and essays highlighting the importance of railroad safety. Tasked with selecting the winners was a panel of 24 judges, including government officials, first responders, representatives from safety and education advocacy groups, business and community leaders, media and railroad professionals.

First-, second-, and third-place winners were chosen from each grade level for the Metra Safety Poster Contest. One winner from each grade group – elementary school, middle school and high school – was chosen for the Safety Essay Contest. First-place poster and essay contest winners received an iPad, while second- and third-place poster contest winners received $250 and $100 gift cards, respectively.

The People’s Choice Award winner is Lindley Wiesner, an eleventh grader who attends Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest. More than 554 people voted for the poster they liked best online and selected her artwork as the favorite. For this achievement, she received an additional $250 prize.

Metra also recognized the school with the most entries submitted in the poster contest. This year’s winner is Ida B. Wells Prep with 274 entries. In honor of this achievement, the school received a Dell Latitude laptop for use in the classroom.

The first-place poster designs will be featured in Metra’s 2020 safety calendar, on weekend tickets and on the Metra website. Winning safety essays will also be featured in the safety calendar, the Metra website and Facebook page. The second- and third-place posters will also be featured on the contest’s Facebook page.

Metra’s Safety Contest would not be possible without the support of its sponsors, whose generous contributions have helped Metra defray the costs of the contest prizes as well as the production of the safety posters. This year’s contest sponsor is the Hubbard Radio Group, owners of Chicago radio stations 97.1 FM The Drive, 100.3 WSHE and 101.9 The Mix.

Information about the campaign, along with all of the Safety Contest winners, is available online at

About Metra

Metra is one of the largest and most complex commuter rail systems in North America, serving Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties in northeastern Illinois. The agency provides service to and from downtown Chicago with 242 stations over 11 routes totaling nearly 500 route miles and approximately 1,200 miles of track. Metra operates nearly 700 trains and provides nearly 290,000 passenger trips each weekday.

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