His poster depicted a donkey -- the official mascot of Committee
for Clean and Beautiful Glendale, the organizers of the contest --
cleaning graffiti from a tree.
His poster also showed a raccoon, a pumpkin and a watermelon patch
with a sun drinking water from a moon because the sun was thirsty,
"The donkey is doing the hard work, and it is brushing the tree,"
Lee said. "I am the only person in my class that drew the art work,
and I like to get trophies, and I love to draw."
But Lee, with his detailed and brightly-colored poster, was only
following the footsteps of his older brother and sister.
His brother Joshua, 9, was the grand prize winner in 2002, and his
elder sister Joyce, 11, was the third-place winner last year. Joshua
was also the second-place winner last year, their mother Jina Lee
"I cannot believe it," she said. "I cannot imagine he will be the
But the family has always been encouraging and supportive of the
arts, said Lee's principal Gracella Gibbs.
Lee's mother has a degree in arts and her father taught art at a
university in Korea, Gina Lee said.
This is the contest's 12th year , said Juan Gonzalez, neighborhood
services program supervisor.
Sixty-one finalists were recognized with trophies at Wednesday's
event, and the 10 winners also each got a backpack. The first three
winners also received a plaque. S
Several Glendale businesses sponsor the contest.
Being a finalist was exciting for 8-year-old Rita Ghougasian of
Armenian Sisters Academy.
"When I draw, I show my feelings, and I think about it, and
drawing helps me learn," she said.
The artwork will be on display throughout the city in businesses
and administration buildings, Gonzalez said.
Lee ran around in the hall at the Glendale Civic Auditorium
Wednesday unconcerned about his achievement. But he thought the
poster contest was a good thing.
"Maybe people will pick up the trash," he said.
Last year's grand prize winner, Spencer Dryden, said he was a
little sad passing on the mantle.
"I don't get to do any more commercials," said Dryden, a
fifth-grader at Fremont Elementary, who helped distribute the awards
along with Mayor Bob Yousefian.
The contest is important because it was organized through the
city, said Ann-Marie Chaglassian a teacher at Chamlian Elementary
"The students feel responsible for the city being clean," she