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Way to Go: Annika Chang, Commack

Annika Chang, 11, a student at Commack Middle

Annika Chang, 11, a student at Commack Middle School, took the top prize in an annual poster contest that the state Department of Environmental Conservation coordinated in celebration of Arbor Day in late April. More than 1,200 posters were submitted by youths statewide.

A Commack sixth-grader's prizewinning Arbor Day artwork has been made into a bookmark distributed to schools statewide.

Annika Chang, a student at Commack Middle School, took the top prize in an annual poster contest that the state Department of Environmental Conservation coordinated in celebration of Arbor Day in late April. More than 1,200 posters were submitted by youths statewide.

Annika's work in oil pastels depicts a tree in front of a city skyline with the words "Arbor Day" spelled out in tree branches.

"I was excited and nervous at the same time," Annika, 11, said of her win.

Annika was invited to help plant a tree at Empire State Plaza in Albany during state officials' observance of Arbor Day. In June, she helped plant a flowering cherry tree outside John Mandracchia-Sawmill Intermediate School in Commack, which she attended last year.

The contest began at the elementary level, with school-level winners entered into a regional event. Nine regional champs were chosen and, from those, the statewide winner was selected.

Annika also is a member of her school's chorus and plays violin in the school orchestra.

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