Fourth-grader wins T-shirt design contest

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Nine-year-old Hampton Capers of Stockbridge didn’t know what to think when he learned he had won a contest in connection with an upcoming fundraiser.

“I was surprised,” said the Dutchtown Elementary School fourth-grader, visibly taken aback by his victory. “I thought it was my birthday, and I was like, ‘It’s not my birthday.’ I was so confused.”

Sonja Hegwood, director of Pregnancy Resource Center, presents a $250 Toys R Us giftcard to local student, Hampton Capers for his winning T-shirt design. His design will be featured on the 2018 Run for the Bun 5K and 1K shirts. Photo by Jason A. Smith

The Pregnancy Resource Center in McDonough recently announced Hampton as the winner of a T-shirt design contest for its Run for the Bun 5K and 1K. Upon his win, Hampton received a $250 gift card for Toys R Us during a ceremony at Quilla Academy in Stockbridge on April 9.

The run is set for April 21 at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough.

Hampton said creating his bubble-themed design was not an easy task. Still, he added that he did his best to remain confident in his abilities.

“It took me time: a lot - a lot -of time,” he said. “I used like six sheets of paper, then I found the one that I liked. It had little scuffs on it, but I was like, ‘It’s OK. I believe.”

Following the ceremony, Hampton was asked if he wanted to take all the credit for himself for his victory - even though his dad and brother are also adept at design work. In response, the boy sported a mischievous grin as he proudly declared, “Yes, I do!”

The T-shirt design contest was spearheaded by Cassie Woods, a teacher at Quilla Academy who also volunteers at the Pregnancy Resource Center. She said kids at the academy jumped at the chance to participate in the contest.

“They ran with it,” said Woods. “They came up with some really awesome designs. I was actually shocked. The top three were chosen from my class. We put it out on social media. It was on Twitter and the Pregnancy Resource Center’s social media pages.”

Woods said she is proud of Hampton’s performance in the contest in particular.

“I think his design appealed to all ages,” said Woods. “They all did awesome, but I think his appealed to a wide range of people. Everybody could relate. It had something for everyone that they can gravitate to.”

Michelle Plott, development director for the Pregnancy Resource Center, said more than 150 people have signed up to participate in the Run For the Bun, with a goal of 200 by race day.

“The theme of the race is Bubble Edition,” said Plott. “We’re going to have bubble machines throughout the race, but we also have a foam pit that we’re creating, and people, on the way back, will be able to run through that.”

Sonja Hegwood, director of Pregnancy Resource Center, said a total of 38 entries were submitted for the inaugural T-shirt design contest. Staff members at the center, she said, narrowed down the selection of entries, and Faceboook users voted to determine the winner.

“We had three finalists - Hampton and two other young people,” said Hegwood. Just by visual appeal, people voted, and his won almost double over the other T-shirt designs that were voted on. We were very pleased at the kids who participated, and Quilla Academy for letting their kids participate. That gave us the opportunity to meet Hampton.”

Hegwood said she was glad to see several of Hampton’s family at the award presentation.

“They represent the best of our community, supporting each other and supporting the resources in our community and their children through their journey,” said Hegwood. “I think it speaks greatly of our community.”

Among those family members was Hampton’s father, Cordell Capers. He said he found out about the contest results a few days before the award presentation and was eager to share in his son’s success.

“It was hard to keep it to myself, but I’m excited and very proud of him,” said Cordell Capers. “He actually knows how to design in Photoshop. He’s very creative. He watches me, because I do it. He actually takes over. I’m not going to set his future, but I’m smiling pretty hard. I think he’s going to be a great designer one day.”

Quilla Academy Assistant Director Lynn Pogue said the contest served as a way to encourage children to be more active in their community. Pogue emphasized that the school is not directly affiliated with the Pregnancy Resource Center. Nonetheless, she said the contest sends an important message to children.

“We’re all about children, and that’s something that is reinforced through what they’re trying to get across -that children are important,” said Pogue. “I believe this is more about helping the moms through pregnancy. Anything for children, we’re all for.

“I just think it’s so nice to involve children in the community that they’re in,” continued Pogue. “It helps them to grow our community and maybe to know more about what’s in our community as well.