By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – Booneville third-grader Reed Lindsey was sitting in class at Anderson Elementary School recently when he was paged to the school’s office.
The White House was on the phone.
Reed was one of two students in the nation chosen as winners of the Easter Egg Roll art contest, and Tess Hetzel from the White House Visitor’s Office was calling to give him the news.
“They told me I had a call from the White House,” Reed said. “She congratulated me. I was excited.”
The 9-year-old was even more excited to learn he would get a trip to the White House for the egg roll, which was held on April 9.
In its 134th year, the egg roll is an annual event that invites students to the White House’s South Lawn. Young children participate in an egg hunt and older ones play a game in which they push eggs forward with a wooden spoon. Various celebrities read books to the guests.
The son of Jobie and Lisa Lindsey, Reed found out about the art contest while visiting the First Lady’s website in early March to learn if tickets were available to this year’s event. The deadline to enter the ticket lottery had passed a day earlier, but his mother noticed a link to the contest and told her son he should try.
“I think it was one of those real-life experiences where extra work pays off,” Lisa Lindsey said. “You never know when or how, but when you do extra, it will pay off.”
Entries needed to include the event’s theme, “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move.” Reed’s poster featured a map of the United States with people doing various activities: playing baseball and basketball, surfing, using a hula hoop and swinging a tennis racket.
Hetzel told Reed that first lady Michelle Obama chose his drawing because he “had so many fun ways to exercise,” Lisa Lindsey said.
Reed’s design adorned the event’s official poster, and 30,000 copies of it were distributed. Breonna Bailey, a seventh-grader from Washington, D.C., was the contest’s other winner. Her design was used for the program cover.
“The coolest part was going to the White House because I saw the president and the first lady,” Reed said.
He sat in the audience while President Barack Obama read a book, and he received a hug from Michelle Obama. He was also excited to see the first family’s dog and hear him bark.
This wasn’t the first artistic honor for Reed, who had another picture featured on Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s Christmas card last year. He has also won first place in the Mississippi Public Broadcasting writing contest two years in a row, and he had poetry featured in a national book of works written by children.
His favorite art form is painting and drawing pictures, he said, because he loves using bright colors.