Ishaani Pradeep, a sixth-grade student at Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford, has taken the first step to becoming an internationally recognized artist by winning a local competition sponsored by the New Milford Lions Club.

Ishaani's poster was among more than 400,000 entries submitted worldwide in the 28th annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest, which seeks to emphasize the importance of world peace to young people everywhere.

“We are the building blocks of the world, let us come together,” the 11-year-old from New Milford said.

The poster was selected by Bob Coppola and Trish Grinnell for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the contest theme “Share Peace.”

The judging was held Oct. 30.

New Milford Lions Club President William Deak said he was impressed by the expression and creativity of the students at SMS.

“It is obvious that these young people have strong ideas about what peace means to them,” Deak said. “I’m so proud that we were able to provide them with the opportunity to share their visions.”

“Ishaani’s poster will advance to face stiff competition through the district, multiple district and international rounds of competition if she is to be declared the international grand prize winner,” Deak said.

One grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners will be selected.

The grand prize includes a cash award of $5,000, plus a trip for the winner and two family members to an award ceremony.

The 23 merit award winners will each receive a certificate and a cash award of $500.

“Our club is cheering for Ishaani as her poster advances in the competition, and we hope that her vision will ultimately be shared with others around the world,” Deak said.

Locally, Ishaani was honored for her participation by the New Milford Lions Club Nov. 5 at the VFW Post 1672.

International grand prize and merit award winners may be viewed at www.lionsclubs.org.