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K-12 Education

The Parade Company Brings Winning Student Design To Life During 26th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest

New Float, “The Snowing Mountain,” Inspired by Detroit 7th Grader to Debut in America’s Thanksgiving Parade® Presented by Art Van                                                                      


The Parade Company and Skillman Foundation today announced the winner of the 26thAnnual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Seventh grade student, Yuliana Ortiz, from Clippert Academy, was joined by her family, teachers and school administrators today as she saw her winning design, “The Snowing Mountain,” transform into a larger-than-life float.

The float, which features a snow-covered house on a hill, kids ice skating, snowmen and trees, will be led by Ortiz and her family during America’s Thanksgiving Parade®presented by Art Van. The float also includes an 80-foot wrap which incorporates the 2017 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites.

float 2-17

“We are proud to partner with The Parade Company for another year marked by the inspiring designs and creativity of local Detroit students,” said Tonya Allen, president & CEO of Skillman Foundation. “We were impressed by the amazing submissions by students this year. Yuliana’s designs will be the perfect complement to this year’s parade as it rolls down Woodward Avenue.”

“Skillman Foundation’s dedication to Detroit’s students continues to inspire us year after year,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “We are grateful for our continued partnership and are proud to help them bring Yuliana’s vision to life.”

The Annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest provides Detroit students, from grades four through eight, an opportunity to design a float to appear in America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Five 2017 honorable mention winners were selected and invited to see their designs on display. The students include:

  • Makiyah Degraffenreid – Fisher Upper Magnet, 7th Grade “Circus of Colors”
  • Kimberly Orozco – Clippert Academy, 7th Grade “Carousel”
  • Khyra Norman –  Fisher Uppder Magnet, 8th Grade “Thanksgiving is About Giving”
  • Jordan Jones – Weston Preparatory Academy, 6th Grade “Dream Neighborhood”
  • Monica Britt – Bates Academy, 7th Grade “The Neighborhood Zoo”

View photos of Yuliana’s float in the 2017 America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! 

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