Elvis Munoz rides the school bus every day.
During those rides, he noticed that some motorists weren't stopping when his bus had its red lights flashing -- something that's required by law. That inspired him to enter a school bus safety poster contest.
Elvis' poster won the Merced City School District contest and placed second statewide in the competition sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportation.
The 11-year-old sixth-grader at Rivera Middle School won $50, an art kit and $200 for the school to use for a field trip. He said he was surprised to learn that the poster, which took two days to complete, did so well in the competition.
"He has pretty extraordinary talent," Rivera Assistant Principal Ken Testa said. "We're very proud of him. This shows art and graphic design can send a powerful message. He has seen people make poor choices driving."
Like most artists, Elvis thought about the school bus scene before he took colored pencils and a ruler to draw his poster. It shows the back of a school bus in front of a crosswalk, with a crossing guard helping young children across the street.
Elvis' poster has the written admonition: "At My Stop, You Stop."
When he grows up, Elvis thinks he would like to be a soccer player or maybe an artist. He likes drawing and does sketches of many animals, especially dogs. The Munoz household includes two cocker spaniels.
Elvis said sometimes he looks for art inspiration on his home computer. He plans on doing more art projects and taking art classes at the high school level.
Tony Luiz, Elvis' reading, language arts and history teacher, said there are few opportunities for students to be creative in today's educational environment.
"It's nice to see a student be able to showcase his artistic talents," Luiz said. "It (awards) couldn't happen to a nicer, more respectful kid."
Elvis is the son of Andres and Blanca Munoz. He was recognized for his winning artwork Tuesday night during the Merced City School District Board of Education meeting.
Testa said the annual poster contest promotes National School Bus Safety Week. The national winner's poster is pictured on the organization's website.
Elvis said his favorite subject is math and that reading is his least-favorite class. However, he is getting almost straight A's -- including reading, Testa said.
Louk Markham, the school district's transportation supervisor, said more than 200 posters were turned in for the safety contest.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or email@example.com.