HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) — Like other students in her Visual Arts III class, Hazleton Area High School junior Abby Vardner was used to creating art on paper.

So when instructor Angela Glowatch mentioned that her students would be painting a PennDOT snow plow blade for a public safety campaign and contest, Vardner couldn't help but raise an eyebrow.

"I wasn't sure what to expect until I actually saw it," Vardner said of the plow. "It's a lot bigger than I thought it would be."

As part of its "Paint the Plow" public awareness campaign, PennDOT asked high school students to design plow blades with artwork based on the theme of "Winter Driving Safety." Motorists who see the plows will be reminded to be cautious while driving during wintry conditions.

PennDOT delivered the snow plow blades to participating schools in August.

"We began with just drawing and sketching based on the theme," said Vardner, 17.

From the designs, the class voted to include snowmen, penguins and cars. They're also including the message of "Ice and Snow, Take it Slow."

"The students are having so much fun. This is a great project," Glowatch said. "They're working together."

Senior Sara Planutis said students are assigned different duties each day.

"In the beginning, I was working on the sign. Today I was assigned to work on the snowflakes," she said, as she used a thin brush to apply white paint to the blade.

Once everything dries, auto body instructor Dave Barna will spray it with a clear, acrylic coating.

And while PennDOT will cart off the plow soon, it will return to the district when snowy weather strikes, said Paint the Plow coordinator and PennDOT engineer Angela Miller.

She said one school will be selected as a "Judges' Pick" winner, while another will win based on public input.

"The competition will include a fan favorite, which will be determined through a Facebook campaign that is open to the general public," Miller said. "In this campaign, a photo of the plow blade and the name of the school will be posted on the PennDOT Facebook page at and the votes will be counted by the number of 'likes' that a plow receives."

Hazleton Area is one of six schools in District 4-0 participating in the PennDOT contest.

Miller noted that designs will eventually wear away as the plow blades are subjected to snow and ice removal.

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Information from: Standard-Speaker, http://www.standardspeaker.com