‘You Have a Choice’ float wins 28th Annual Skillman Foundation design contest

Malaya Johnson's “You Have a Choice" float won the the 28th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest for America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. (WDIV)

DETROIT – The Skillman Foundation and The Parade Company announced Detroit 5th grader Malaya Johnson, student at the Bates Academy, as the winner of the 28th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van today.

Johnson’s design, titled “You Have a Choice” was transformed into a larger-than-life float by the artists at The Parade Company and features a vibrant display of sculpted children carrying the inspiring message that children can choose whichever career path they want as they grow up. The float also includes an 80-foot wrap which incorporates the 2019 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites. Johnson was surrounded by family, teachers and school administrators at today’s unveiling and she will also have the honor of riding on her float in the parade on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 28.

“Year after year, Detroit students continue to inspire us with the creativity, intellect, and care that they put into their entries,” said Tonya Allen, President & CEO of The Skillman Foundation. “We are grateful for our partnership with The Parade Company that allows us to showcase these young artists and put Detroit talent on display for the world to see.”

Malaya Johnson's “You Have a Choice" float won the the 28th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest for America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.

“The partnership with The Skillman Foundation is very special for The Parade Company; we treasure the opportunity to work with the young people of Detroit, celebrate their talent and imagination, and hopefully encourage future generations to dream big,” said Tony Michaels, President & CEO of The Parade Company. “We look forward to seeing ‘You Have a Choice’ in Thursday’s Parade and we hope it inspires our audience along the parade route as well as those watching at home.”

For 28 years, the partnership between The Parade Company and The Skillman Foundation has inspired young artists by giving them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their vision come to life as a parade float on Thanksgiving morning. The popular contest provides Detroit students ranging in grades four through eight the chance to design a float that will be included in this year’s parade. Five honorable mention winners were also selected and were on hand at today’s announcement. The students include:

  • Jeremiah Vernon – McDowell Prep Academy, 7th grade, “The Future is Coming Soon”
  • Samira Jimenez – Maybury Elementary School, 4th grade, “Detroit: The City of Bright Ideas!”
  • Tasiah Horbal – Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School, 8th grade, “To The Moon I’ll Go!”
  • Nairobi Muhammad – University Prep Art and Design; Middle School, 6th grade, “Purple Fall”
  • John Baker IV – Bates Academy, 7th grade, “Detroit Loud, Detroit Proud”

Voted as America’s No. 1 Holiday Parade by the 2018 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards and recognized as one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country by U.S. News & World Report Travel, the 93rd America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van takes place on storied Woodward Avenue on Thursday, Nov. 28.

About The Skillman Foundation A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that serves as a fierce champion of Detroit children. The Foundation works to ensure Detroit youth achieve their highest aspirations by strengthening K-12 public education, afterschool learning opportunities, and college and career pathways.

About The Parade Company

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 more than 90 years of Parade tradition in Detroit and is committed to funding, creating and executing the best family events in Michigan. The Parade Company staff, board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of magnificent events to the City of Detroit and the region including the Ford Fireworks, Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot, and America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Follow The Parade Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.