Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest

Entries in the Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest must fall under one of these topics: Alcohol Awareness and Abuse & Drug Awareness and Abuse. Each poster must include a slogan reflecting either of the topics and an original visual image. Posters may only be entered under one topic.


The Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest is open to all young people between the ages of 8 and 14.


Contest entrants compete in one of two age groups – ages 8 through 11, and ages 12 through 14. (Note: Some school systems may have different age brackets for their elementary and middle schools. In some area, it may be appropriate to group students by grade rather than age. Sponsoring councils should use their own judgment in deciding how to group participants. Each local, regional and state competition many have up to four winning entries, one from each age category.)


Council Level: Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest kits, which contain all the materials needed to participate in the contest, can be ordered from the Department of Fraternal Mission by calling (203) 752-4625. If there are multiple schools participating, ask each school to conduct a preliminary judging. The winning entries (one for each topic in each age group) along with the accompanying entry forms for each poster, should be collected by the council from a school representative to be judged along with the winners from other schools for the council contest.

Columbian Squires circles should work with their sponsoring councils in conducting contests. Winning posters and entry forms are then given to the district deputy or his appointee for the district competition. Winners at the local level are automatically entered in the next level of competition: either district, regional or state. Winning entries at the state level, along with their entry forms, should automatically be submitted to the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council office in New Haven, Conn., where they will be entered in the international competition with winners from contests in other jurisdictions.


The Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest will be under the authority of the state deputy and state youth director. Local competition is under the authority of the grand knight, program director or council youth director. Any questions about this program should be directed to the appropriate local or state official or to the Supreme Council Department of Fraternal Mission, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326. Telephone (203) 752-4625.


● Posters must reflect either the theme of Alcohol Awareness and Abuse or Drug Awareness and Abuse.
● Each poster should be the original work (including concept, layout, slogan and any visual images) of a single person.
● Posters must be 11X17 inches in size. If pastels, chalk or charcoal are used the poster must be laminated or covered with clear plastic. Posters may be in color or black and white.
● Each poster must be submitted with a Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest entry form. The name and age of the person entering the poster should be included on the back of the poster.
● All entries become the property of the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council. Posters will not be returned.


Judging should be done by teams composed of young people, Knights, teachers, administrators, students, substance abuse counselors and law enforcement officials. In keeping with the theme of giving young people the opportunity to develop their own solutions to the challenges they face, it’s particularly important to involve young people in all phases of the judging process.

A 100-point scoring system will be used to determine the winners. 30 Points: Slogan – How clearly is the theme presented? 30 Points: Visuals – How well do the visuals convey the message? 40 Points: Overall impact – How effective was the poster in capturing your attention and causing you to reflect on the topic?


Local – Councils should order their kit in December to be ready to present the contest in January. Posters should be completed by the end of January, and the council judging should take place in February.

District –Early March

Regional –Late March

State – Early April

International –State officers must have their winning entries to Supreme no later than April 30. Winners will be announced around June 1


2015-2016 Substance Abuse Poster Contest Winners 

2014-2015 Substance Abuse Poster Contest Winners 

2013-2014 Substance Abuse Poster Contest Winners 

2012-2013 Substance Abuse Poster Contest Winners

2011-2012 Substance Abuse Poster Contest Winners

Tell Us About Your Programs

Help us improve the Service Program activities offered by the Supreme Council office by sending reports on your council’s successful activities and/or any suggestions you may have on improving our programs. Send this information to Fraternal Mission, Service Program Suggestions, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or contact us. Please include “Service Program Suggestions” in the subject line.

Action Steps

Conducting a Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest is an excellent way to get the young people of your community involved in addressing issues that directly affect them. It is fun and easy to conduct.

  • Fun because of the opportunity to witness the creativity and optimism of the young people in your community.
  • Easy because you can tap into existing structures like schools, CYO’s, Squires circles, etc., to do a lot of preliminary work. It can also provide excellent local, and potentially international, publicity for the council.

These are the steps/tips in conducting a poster contest:

  1. The first step is to organize your contest. The council’s youth activities director, in consultation with the grand knight, should select a team that will administer the contest. This team will be involved in all phases of the contest: organization, publicity, judging, prizes, etc. Columbian Squires circles should work with their sponsoring councils in conducting contests. The council should be “ready to go” at the start of the school year, so that the participants can get right to work. A suggested time frame would be for the students to complete work on their posters during the first half of the school year, with the judging at the local level to take place during January. District judging should take place during February, with state winners chosen in early March. Entries for the international level of competition must be received at the Supreme Council office by March 31. International winners would be announced prior to the close of the school year.
  2. Once the team is in place, the next step is to contact all schools, both public and private, in your community to publicize your contest. Solicit the support of the teachers and administrators; ask them to encourage their students to participate. Teachers, school administrators and most importantly young people can serve as judges, as can substance abuse counselors, law enforcement officials and K of C officials. Each entry should be the work of an individual student. Schools can use the contest as a project for art, health or contemporary issues classes.
  3. If there are multiple schools participating, consider conducting preliminary judging. In this way, the people in the community that you ask to serve as judges, which should include young people, will not be overburdened with a volume of posters, and the judging process will proceed more quickly.
  4. Display promotional materials prominently. The posters included in the Poster Contest Packet should be displayed in any school from which students would participate, as well as youth centers, church halls, libraries, Boys & Girls Clubs, skating rinks, shopping centers, YMCA & YWCA buildings, and the council home. On the poster, indicate the name of the council contact person and a telephone number to call for additional information. Supplement these posters with newspaper ads, radio and TV spots and other publicity. Additional posters are available free of charge from the Supreme Council office.
  5. Build public interest in the contest. Use the sample press release to announce your contest to local newspapers and through radio announcements. Placing the promotional posters in prominent places around town will also accomplish this.
  6. Outline the criteria for your judges to use in rating the entries. The goal of this program is to create/increase awareness among young people of the problems of alcohol and drug abuse, while encouraging them to speak to other youngsters “in their own language” to address these vital issues. Meet with your judges in advance of the judging process so that all are “on the same page” regarding what to look for in a winning entry.
  7. Recognize everyone participating by presenting participation certificates to all who submit entries, and council champion certificates to your council’s winners. Encourage each school to develop some type of recognition for the winning entries in that particular school.

Support Materials

A complete listing of the rules, action steps, and guidelines to running a poster contest. This PDF also contains forms to fill out to enter into the poster contest. Since the link is a PDF file it is easily printable for your convenience.

Substance Abuse Poster Contest Kit (#SA-KIT) 

Description Item #
Entry Form/Judging Sheet  4000
Participation Report Form 4001
Council Winner Certificate  4015
Council Participant Certificate  4016
Program Guide  4112
Promotional Poster A  4357A
Promotional Poster B  4357B