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‘Children’s Pet and Cuddle Care Club’ float brings 8th grader’s art to life in Thanksgiving Day Parade

Skillman Float Children's Pet Cuddle and Care Club

The imagination of thousands of kids will be grabbed as they sit and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade roll by on Woodward but 8th grader Naomi West is the only one who gets to say one of those floats was her design.

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L to R: Charles Hickman Jr., Tonya Allen, president and CEO, The Skillman Foundation, Naomi West, Tony Michaels, president and CEO, The Parade Company and Daniela Castro.

The student at Earhart Elementary-Middle School won the 23rd Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest with a drawing tilted, “Children’s Pet and Cuddle Care Club.”

The float was brought to life as a five-foot long dog with a bobbing head sitting at a water dish large enough to hold 20 gallons of water.  To go along with the thirst-quenching dish is a bag of puppy food, which could hold 30 regular sized bags.

The float also features an 80-foot wrap that incorporates the 2014 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites. West, who was the runner up winner in the 2013 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest, gets to experience the joys of the winner’s circle along with  her family as the accompany the float in the Thanksgiving Parade.

“Each year I am awed by the creativity of Detroit’s student artists and of those from The Parade Company who bring a drawing to life,” said Tonya Allen, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation. “It is a privilege to show people across the city, state and nation the talent of these children as their beautiful creations roll down Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning.”

Grand Prize Winner Naomi West's drawing

Grand Prize Winner Naomi West’s drawing

West was not alone at the unveiling of her design becoming a reality. The other artists along with their families, teachers and principals shared the moment with her.  Those who received an honorable mention were:

  • Daniela Castro (7th grade student, Clippert Academy) for her work “Dream Neighborhood”
  • Charles Hickman Jr. (7th grade student, Bates Academy) for his work “Soul Food City”
  • Salena Johnson (8th grade student, Henry Ford Academy for Creative Studies) for her work “Build Up Detroit”
  • Laura Vance (8th grade student, Henry Ford Academy for Creative Studies) for her work “Big Top Circus”
  • Moriah Young (4th grade student, Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Academy) for her work “Bird World”

“We look forward to the tradition of the Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest where we have the opportunity to showcase some of Detroit’s finest young artists,” said Tony Michaels, president and CEO, The Parade Company.  “We are incredibly grateful to partner with Skillman Foundation, who has brought countless students’ dreams to life.”

This is the 88th year for Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade making it is a long-standing tradition for the Motor City.  Each year we can expect to see something new thanks to programs like this from Skillman and new floats sponsored by the city’s businesses.

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