Thanksgiving Parade float, balloon winners revealed

DETROIT – Smiling and excited faces filled the Parade Studio as the 17th Annual Skillman Foundation winning float and balloon designs were unveiled. Two talented school girls were thrilled to see their artistic creations come to life for the first time.

Emirene Munoz, an eighth grader from Clippert Academy in Detroit, and Julissa Madrigal, a seventh grader from Earhart Middle School in Detroit, were this year’s winning artists. Munoz’s drawing of “Elephante” inspired a vibrant, 20-foot-tall playful balloon, and Madrigal’s “Our Aquarium” was transformed into a life-size, captivating float, complete with seaweed and whales.

The balloon and float will be a part of America’s Thanksgiving Parade , which takes place Nov. 27. The parade, a Detroit tradition dating back to 1924, features a “Legends and Lollipops” theme this year and kicks off at Mack and Woodward.

There were also Honorable Mentions:

  • Float: Regina Aleman, an eighth grader from Clippert Academy; Atziry Ruiz, a fifth grader from Bennett Elementary; Mariah Shaw, a third grader from Harms School; and Yajaira Carrillo, a fifth grader from Cesar Chavez Academy.
  • Balloon: Arlene Torres, a sixth grader from Academy of the Americas; Adam Yang, a fourth grader from Fleming Academy; Walter Richey, a seventh grader from Leland Community Affairs, Inc.; and Ande Villarreal, a fifth grader from Bennett Elementary.

For the second year, the contest was opened to Detroit students – K-12 – who attend school in a Skillman-targeted neighborhood, in hopes of encouraging them to participate in a rewards-based competition that is educational, fun and positively promotes Detroit. The students were invited to submit a drawing with a focus and strong concentration on the Foundation’s Good Schools and Good Neighborhoods program areas. There were more than 300 entries.

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 (Vernor and Chadsey/Condon), Brightmoor, Osborn, Cody/Rouge and the Northend – and toward innovative and successful schools throughout the city of Detroit.

To watch a WDIV-TV video of the winning designers and creations, please click here.