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St. Charles student among Metra contest winners

St. Charles resident Evan Boyle, a student at Lincoln Elementary School, won first place for his poster in the 2014 edition of Metra’s Safety Poster and Essay Contest, in the kindergarten age bracket.

The contest is designed to promote and reinforce railroad safety messages and keep the region’s children safe around trains. Thousands of students from across the region participated in this year’s contest, creating artwork or writing essays around the theme “Get Smart, Look Listen Live,” states a news release.

“This was the perfect contest for Evan to enter because he loves trains and draws them nonstop,” wrote Evan’s mother, Jessica Boyle, who commented on the Metra contest’s Facebook page. “Such a little artist and proud of him.”

Each year, Metra’s safety contest invites students in kindergarten through 12th grade throughout its six-county service area to submit poster designs and essays highlighting the importance of railroad safety.

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 receive an iPad, while second- and third-place poster contest winners receive $250 and $100 gift cards, respectively.

Aurora resident Sathya Devarajan, a first-grade student at Reba Steck Elementary School, won second-place poster honors; and Akhil Devarajan, a fifth-grade student at Reba Steck Elementary School, received second-place poster honors and best essay in the fifth- through eighth-grade division. Ivan Gachuz of Aurora, an eighth-grade student at Jefferson Middle School, received third-place honors; and Evelyn Gachuz of Aurora, a 12th-grade student at West Aurora High School, received best essay in the ninth- through 12th-grade division.

Tasked with selecting the winners was a panel of 23 judges, including government officials, representatives from safety and education advocacy groups, business and community leaders, and  media and railroad professionals.

“Safety has always been Metra’s highest priority, and for the past eight years this contest has been an innovative way for Metra to bring rail safety discussions into classrooms across our region,” said Metra Executive Director and CEO Don Orseno in a news release.

A People’s Choice Award winner also will be selected by voting at

The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced at the August meeting of the Metra Board.

The first-place poster designs will be featured in Metra’s 2015 safety calendar, on monthly tickets and on the Metra website. Winning safety essays also will  be featured in the safety calendar, the Metra website and Facebook page.

Information about the campaign, along with all of the safety contest winners, is available at and

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