The winner of the 2012 Catholic Schools Week poster contest was Major Mottla, a fifth-grader at St. Joseph Catholic School (SJCS) and the son of Anthony and Laura Mottla.

Each year, Catholic schools in Dallas and surrounding areas participate in Catholic Schools Week. During that week, more than 32 schools compete for top honors in the spelling bee and poster competitions.

Mottla who comes from a family of artists said his love for art and drawing is in his genes.

“My dad is an architect and my mom is an art teacher,” he said. “So it’s only natural that I love to draw, paint and create art work.”

Mottla indicated that as the poster contest drew near, he wasn’t really sure of what to draw. But while playing on his mother’s iPhone the night before everything was due, the idea finally came to him.

“I was having a hard time deciding what to draw,” Mottla said. “While sitting on the couch, I picked up my mom’s phone and the idea just came to me.”

With this year’s theme being “Catholic Schools: Faith, Academics and Service,” Mottla said he knew the poster had to stay within the context of the theme.

Mottla began to envision a hand holding a phone, but instead of using the buttons to connect to people, he designed them to connect more with God. Instead of being able to select applications like email, contacts and photo gallery tabs; Mottla’s applications were crosses, the Bible and a heart. And in place of the slide to unlock tab, his read slide to God.

He said once it was organized on the poster board, he was very pleased with it.

“I thought it was a neat idea and it turned out really well,” Mottla said. “I was very glad to see it all finally come together.”

Even though Mottla said he was thrilled with his design, he never expected to win.

“We have a lot of talented kids here,” he said. “My main goal was to do the best I could and leave the rest to the judges.”

Mottla’s best won him first prize out of all the fourth and fifth graders at SJCS. Due to this win, he was able to compete in the Diocese level and represent his school. He said he didn’t know he had won first place overall until they announced it over the loud speaker at school.

“When I heard the announcement, I was shocked,” Mottla said. “I expected maybe to get honorable mention, but not first place. That was really exciting.”

In addition to winning, Mottla said he was able to go to Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas where the final judging took place. He said that was more rewarding than winning first place.

“It was neat to go there and see other student’s art work,” Mottla said. “All of the high school student’s art work was on display for everyone to see.”

Mottla said he saw sculptures made out of scrap metal, three dimensional art and graffiti.

“Seeing all of those things were very inspiring to me,” he said. “One of the students had taken a piece of wood and cut out a design. Then they put a piece of glass behind it and when the sun reflected off of it, you could see this beautiful multi-colored design.”

Mottla said it’s his dream in life to become an artist and believes with the support of his parents, his dream will come true.

Catholic Schools Week is an annual national celebration of the important role that Catholic elementary and secondary schools across the country play in providing a values-added education for America’s young people. Children are taught faith – not just the basics of Christianity, but how to have a relationship with God. Academics, which in Catholic schools are held to very high standards, help each child reach his/her potential. Service – the giving of one’s time and effort to help others, is taught both as an expression of faith and good citizenship.

Contact Melissa at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@wninews.com.