The imagination, compassion and artistry of an Athens student are contributing to raising the profile of missing children.
Dawson Mack, a rising sixth-grader at Athens Intermediate School, recently won the 15th Missing Children’s Art Contest Award with a poster that won at the local and state level before topping more than 50 entries.
The poster competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice to raise awareness about missing children and spur communities to discuss child abduction prevention and intervention.
Dawson’s creation illustrated this year’s theme of “Bring Our Missing Children Home.” He used a flag backdrop and drew figures to represent both missing children and their friends to symbolize the nationwide issue.
“When I was given this assignment, I thought of the missing child’s friends. They would miss the person and probably do something to find him or her,” he said. “So my poster shows a lot of kids holding up signs and three children missing. The American flag means that this is happening around the country. This is a problem that needs to be stopped.”
Dawson enjoys drawing cars, math and playing baseball, basketball and football, along with hiking, camping and boating with his family. He is the son of Jason and Dawn Mack of Athens.
His poster sponsor was AIS art specialist Debra Johnson, who attended the annual National Missing Children’s Day commemoration May 21 in Washington, D.C. Dawson was joined by his parents, AIS Principal Phillip Jarmon and Athens City Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay.
The day honors the memory of Ethan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner May 25, 1979, and the memories of other missing youths.
— Starr Stepp, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice, contributed to this report.