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Local school wins statewide competition to receive $1,000 prize


Last updated 12/3/2018 at 11:58am

Courtesy photo

Highland Park Early Primary students and Principal Mark Irvin pose for a photograph in Blue Pony blue clothing. The photo was the winning submission in Tilleman Motor Co.'s School Shout Out competition.

Highland Park Early Primary School will receive $1,000 for its display of school spirit in Tilleman Motor Co.'s School Shout Out competition.

The contest was held statewide with 28 schools submitting 53 entries, Tilleman Marketing Director Susan Brurud said.

Tilleman plans to present the check to Highland Park Tuesday.

KRTV of Great Falls helped with promoting the event.

Highland Park Principal Mark Irvin submitted a photo of students and himself dressed in Havre Blue Pony clothing titled "Future Havre Blue Ponies," and they received the most votes via Facebook to claim the $1,000 first-place prize.

Brurud said the entry period was open for three weeks to allow schools to upload photos and descriptions of their submissions. After that, the voting period was open for another three weeks to allow for voting from the public. People could vote once a day, Brurud added.

"We had lots of people voting," she said. "I know we had someone call in from California that wanted to see how she could vote for her grandkids' school. It was just fun to see how far it kind of spread."

Highland Park won for their "Future Ponies" picture with 445 votes out of 2,169 votes cast.

Brurud said this was the first year that the contest has been held, and it is unknown at this time if the contest will become an annual event.

"It was fun for us to get a bunch of our kids together," Irvin said. "It seemed almost the whole school was clad in Blue Pony blue that day so it was really easy to round up, you know, I think we had 35 kids in the photo. We just thought it would be neat to show our school spirit even at this level, kindergarten and first grade, you know, trying to build pride in our schools."

Brurud said the criteria for schools was to submit a photo and a reason why the school should receive the $1,000 prize.

Irvin said with budget cuts coming at the state level and "resources being limited," he already has an idea of how to use the prize money.

"What I'd really like to do is, we're planning a year-end celebration at the end of this year. We want to invite parents in and have like a barbecue and have some different games available for all of our students and there'll be face painting," he said.

The money from the contest would go toward the supplies to put on the end-of-the-year celebration. Irvin added it would also be a way to thank the parents for their support in voting for Highland Park.

Irvin added the money would also go toward purchasing some social skills books to have at the school.

"Yeah, it'll go to good use for sure," he said.

Irvin said he would like to thank all the people who voted for Highland Park in the competition.

Brurud said Tilleman co-owner Craig Tilleman and the company have "always been generous towards the community."

"I like to see all the different schools that participated and all the great photos. There's everything from little babies dressed up in school gear, all the way up to the one that was the winning photo," she added. "So I really loved the variety and the feedback that we got. I got messages from people, you know, so excited that their picture was up there and wanting to know where they ranked."

Brurud said she didn't have rankings and didn't know who was going to win until about five minutes before the winner was announced.


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