Seventh-grader's community garden springs to life


DETROIT – A talented Detroit student watched as her artistic creation of a community garden sprang to life when The Parade Company unveiled The Skillman Foundation contest-winning float design at The Parade Studio in Detroit.

Lesly Nuñez, a seventh-grader at Clippert Academy, a Detroit Public School, was the grand-prize winning artist. Her drawing, entitled “Community Garden,” was transformed into a float representing her dream neighborhood. Nuñez’s float features a vibrant neighborhood complete with giant sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins, strawberries and more. Nuñez will accompany her float along the parade route on Thanksgiving morning to celebrate with the thousands of parade-goers during the 85th America’s Thanksgiving Parade.

The artists, their families, teachers and principals attended the unveiling with representatives from The Parade Company and The Skillman Foundation. Five honorable mention winners were also selected and invited to see the drawings of their dream neighborhoods on display. The students include Estefany Gonzalez (sixth grade, Clippert Academy); Naomi Cook (sixth grade, Henry Ford Academy: School of Creative Studies); Leslie Basilio (seventh grade, Clippert Academy); Robin Ryce (seventh grade, Warrendale Charter Academy); and Italy Aron (fourth grade, Brenda Scott Academy for Theatre Arts).

“For 20 years we have been able to honor and spotlight the hopes and dreams of these exceptionally talented Detroit students in this annual contest,” said Carol Goss, Skillman Foundation President & CEO. “On Thanksgiving morning we will gather as a community to celebrate all that is good and special about our community, and these students, families and teachers are certainly at the top of that list.”

“We salute The Skillman Foundation for its commitment to 20 years of making dreams come true for America’s Thanksgiving Parade,” said Tony Michaels, President & CEO of The Parade Company. “Every year it warms our hearts to be able to honor and recognize these incredibly talented students and create memories for a lifetime for the children, parents and teachers all involved.”
Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy whose chief aim is to help develop good schools and good neighborhoods for children. Though grants are made throughout metropolitan Detroit, most grants are directed at six Detroit neighborhoods – Southwest Detroit, Chadsey Condon, Brightmoor, Osborn, Northend Central and Cody Rouge – and toward innovative and successful schools throughout the city of Detroit.

Founded in 1984, The Parade Company is a not-for-profit organization governed by the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation whose board of directors is comprised of key civic and corporate leaders in the greater Detroit region.  The Parade Company is celebrating 84 years of Parade tradition in Detroit. The mission is to fund, create and execute the best family events in metro Detroit. The Parade Company staff, the board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of events to the City of Detroit each year, including the Target Fireworks, Fifth Third Turkey Trot and America's Thanksgiving Parade.