Darrell Montoya, a fifth-grade student at Rio Rancho Elementary School, won the state level National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest for New Mexico.

Montoya was recognized at an assembly last week that was attended by Mayor Gregg Hull, New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez and New Mexico State Police officers.

“We always want to keep our families together,” Hull said. “And that means that we as a community look out for each other and we work together to keep an eye on each other.”

The contest, meant to raise awareness for the hundreds of children who go missing every year in the United States, took place last month and included artwork from students living across the state.

Montoya’s award-winning poster depicts hands reaching out from the darkness toward a frightened little boy, holding his father’s hand.

Torrez asked the crowd for a round of applause for Montoya, who proudly displayed his poster.

““I don’t know about you, but I think that when the rest of the country gets to see the work that Darrell put together, I have a feeling that New Mexico’s going to win the national contest,” Torrez said.

Torrez spoke to the student body about the importance of staying safe and understanding how to identify and avoid dangerous situations.

“I want each and every one of you to understand how important it is that we look out for each other,” Torrez said to the students at the assembly.

Montoya advances to the national competition, which will take place later this year.
Montoya was presented with a certificate from the Office of the Attorney General, two challenge coins from the New Mexico State Police and the Office of Mayor Hull, and a brand-new bicycle.