"If you won, the grand prize was four free airline tickets to anywhere in the United States," said Dorman, a 12-year-old sixth grader at Weehawken's Roosevelt School. "That was good enough for me."
As a student in the Weehawken Drug and Alcohol Resistance through Education (DARE) program, Dorman learned of the contest, sponsored by DARE New Jersey and the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, from his DARE instructor, Weehawken Police Lt. Thomas McGorty.
"All sixth graders who participate in DARE programs throughout the state were encouraged to draw a poster on the theme," McGorty said. "I submitted all of our posters to the Hudson County DARE office, which in turn, sent the posters on to the state committee, which judged the posters."
Dorman decided to focus his poster on how alcohol affects students his own age. He thought of a good idea, using the globe, including some important landmarks from all over the world.
"I thought that I could say that there was a whole world to explore and I drew the Washington Monument, the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Roman Aqueducts and the Leaning Tower of Pisa," Dorman said. "My older brother Shawn [who is 14 years old] gave me some advice how to do it and I just went from there."
Although he said he wasn't a big geography buff, Dorman just felt he wanted to do something using the globe. "I thought it was a good idea," he said.
As it turns out, Dorman's global approach was a great idea. The state DARE committee picked Dorman's poster as one of the 13 finalists among the thousands of posters that were submitted statewide.
Because he is a state finalist, Dorman has been invited to display his work at the final judging, which will take place at the Jenkinson's Pavilion on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach on Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, a panel of judges will look at the work of the 13 finalists and determine which lucky youngster gets the four round-trip tickets.
The winner's work will also become part of the statewide campaign on advertising billboards and signs throughout the state for the coming year.
Even if Dorman's poster doesn't win, his drawing will be used as part of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey's annual calendar.
"I'm pretty excited," Dorman said. "When I did it, I really didn't think my poster could actually win. I thought it would get noticed, but never thought it would be this good."
McGorty, who has been involved with the DARE program for the last eight years and has been the Weehawken instructor for the last three, was also excited, because he gets to accompany Christopher to Point Pleasant for the presentation.
"It's very exciting for young Chris, and it's very exciting that we have a finalist," McGorty said. "The students are asked to express their creativity through art, what they learned in the DARE program. This is the first time that we've had a finalist."
Dorman, whose father, John, is a firefighter in the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue, said that he learned a lot through the DARE program this year.
"There really is a good message involved," Dorman said. "And we're never too young to start learning about what drugs and alcohol can do to you."
McGorty said that the DARE program in Weehawken has been expanded to include eighth grade students as well as the sixth graders.
"It's a nice feature," McGorty said. "We get them as sixth graders, then we're able to follow up with them two years later. Having one of our own getting honored is a great feeling and it makes us all proud of what we do. But I wonder, if he wins, is he going to take me on his trip? I think Shawn might have something to say about that."
"I don't know what's going to happen," Dorman said. "We have to wait and see."