PHILO, Ill. (WCIA) — One Central Illinois student’s artwork is being recognized nationally.

It started as a school assignment: to create a poster bringing awareness to drug abuse. The subject matter was tough, but it was one that eighth grader Izzy Mallast wanted to tackle. The St. Thomas Catholic School student did the assignment in one week for a grade, but what came out of it was bigger than she ever imagined.

“I just kind of drew random things that are considered addictions to some people,” Mallast said. “So I drew like alcohol bottles and I did pill bottles and pills. And I did shrooms, I did vapes, I did cigarettes. I did all of it.”

The project took a lot of time and planning.

“Four days to do the lettering, and I think it did two days to color it and a day to draw it,” Mallast said. “I drew it on a piece of printer paper at first, because I always draw on printer paper before I actually do the drawing.”

Her hard work and creativity led her to win $130, as well as her very first first place award from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Her piece was submitted to their National Grades 4-12 Poster Contest. She said she doesn’t have any personal experience with drug abuse, but she saw it as an opportunity to combine her two favorite things: helping people and drawing.

“I’m one of those people that helps people, other people through situations that they’re going through because a lot of things I can relate to. So I help people step-by-step because I’m good at that,” Mallast said.

She said she is looking forward to doing more projects before she graduates in May.