July 5, 1999
|Alyson Michalka.||Alyson's winning Hallmark card design.|
by Deborah Stone, features writer
Mack Elementary fourth grader Alyson Michalka likes horses, playing the piano, and drawing pictures. It is her passion for art and the enjoyment that she derives from creating it that led her to enter the Expressions From Hallmark "Kids Card Contest."
She entered the contest purely for fun and as a creative outlet for her artistic expression, never dreaming that her design would be selected by Hallmark to be produced and sold as part of a special Expressions From Hallmark card line. Alyson was one of three grand prize winners in her age category, and her original drawing was chosen from over 67,000 entries.
"I was so excited when I learned that I was a grand prize winner," says Alyson. "It came as a shock to me, because I just never thought my design would be picked. I was jumping up and down and screaming. It was really a surprise!"
Of the two drawings she entered, Hallmark chose the one depicting two angels, one bearing a gift and the other holding a lit candle. The angels are brightly dressed in robes with patterns of flowers, hearts, and halos. Their wings are red and purple and they are set against a background of blue clouds.
An interesting addition to the picture is a set of three halos without any angel bodies beneath them.
"I really wanted to show people that even though angels can't always be seen, they're always with you wherever you go," explains Alyson. "Angels are very special and everyone needs them."
Hallmark presented Alyson with a framed copy of her card at the Hallmark Cards headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. The all-expenses paid trip for Alyson and her family included a tour of the Hallmark factory, a reception honoring the winners, and several fun events.
"It was really fun to meet some of the Hallmark artists and see how they design cards and then see how they are made," says Alyson. "The people were really nice and they made us feel very special."
In August, the Michalka family will be headed to Easton, Pennsylvania for a second all-expenses paid trip. This time it will be to visit the Binney and Smith headquarters, makers of Crayola products (contest rules specified use of Crayola products). In addition, Alyson's school, Mack Elementary, will receive a $500 grant.
"This has been so wonderful for Alyson," says her mother, Carrie Michalka, "and it has been exciting for the whole family to participate in the fun. We are very proud of her." Alyson's card design will soon be available at Hallmark, Safeway, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart stores.