Thirteen-year-old Kylie Crowley says she would never nag anyone about hand hygiene.
But like every other student who has spent the last year soaking in a sea of pandemic public health messages, she is acutely aware of how much it matters.
And now, thanks to her big win in a nationwide contest, she can spread that message without saying a word.
Kylie, a Grade 8 student at Saint John's Bayside Middle School, is one of two winners chosen from among 800 entrants and 10 finalists in SC Johnson Professional's Happy Hands contest.
Her design was chosen in the Grade 6 to Grade 8 category, and a Grade 4 student from Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Burnaby, B.C., won in the kindergarten to Grade 5 category.
The design, a colourful collage of stylized hands, germs and bacteria, looks like it took some time and planning, but Kylie said the muse struck on a whim — and right on deadline.
"It was actually like a last-minute, night-before thing," she confided in an interview from her school on Wednesday. "We had a lot of time in class, but then I missed a couple of days, so I did it in a couple of hours the night before."
She said she was inspired by her science class, where she was learning about bacteria, and whipped up the design with markers and pencil crayons.
Although she was happy with the way her design turned out, she was surprised to learn she'd won.
The 800 student submissions were initially evaluated for visual appeal, unique design elements and creativity. Five finalists in both grade level categories were chosen, and a winner was chosen by public votes.
More than 2,500 votes were cast.
Both winners will receive $300 gift cards, and their schools will each get a $1,000 donation and up to 500 SC Johnson soap-sanitizer dispensers, featuring the students' winning design.
Julie McDermott, Kylie's visual arts teacher, said the school is "thrilled" by Kylie's win, and principal Patrick Laskey said they'll use the $1,000 donation "to supplement the school's art budget so that more students will have an opportunity to show their talent."
So has the heady victory tempted her to think about a career in design?
Kylie is pretty firm on that.
"Uhm, no," she said. "I want to be a vet."