The Resorts of Dana Point and The Asian Elephant Foundation have announced Morgan Finelt, from Ambuehl Elementary in San Juan Capistrano, as the winner of the Elephant Parade: Welcome to America design contest.
Over 2,000 fourth and fifth graders in the Capistrano Unified School District went through a two-week educational curriculum about the plight of the Asian elephant, and each designed an elephant inspired by their experience.
“The Elephant Parade design contest attracted truly gifted students who not only learned about the plight of the Asian Elephant through their curriculum, but also became extremely passionate about making a change,” said Rob Koscelnik, general manager of the DoubleTree Suites.
Finelt’s design “Bright Beauty” features an intricate pattern using geometric shapes and bright colors. With the help of Capistrano Valley High School Visual Arts Instructor Kent Baker, Finelt’s design is currently being painted on a six-foot elephant sculpture.
“The judges were impressed by Morgan’s beautiful design and attention to detail. Her humanitarian spirit, and enthusiasm for the Elephant Parade, clearly shines through her work.”
Upon completion, “Bright Beauty” will join dozens of other elephants in a 10-week tour launching in Dana Point on August 23. In November, Finelt’s elephant will be auctioned off with 15 percent of the proceeds going to Ambuehl Elementary. Her design joins those of celebrity artists including Tommy Hilfiger, Katy Perry and Diane von Furstenberg.
Additionally, selected CUSD students’ designs have been donated to The Asian Elephant Foundation to raise funds for global conservation efforts. According to event organizers, the Elephant Parade has raised more than $6 million for protection efforts and has reached approximately 8 million people worldwide.
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