AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) –  Some talented kids won the privilege of attending John Hickenlooper’s Inauguration in January, 2011. Students from across the state submitted works of art demonstrating why Colorado is important to them. The nine winners were announced this week.

CBS4 was there when some of the winners were announced Wednesday. First we helped surprise Collin Lowe, a first-grader at Dalton Elementary in Aurora. Collin’s winning submission was a picture and paragraph describing Colorado’s beautiful mountains, people and sports teams.

Although the kids didn’t know the meaning of the word Inauguration, the significance of the invitation was not lost on their teacher Susan Sellers.

“It will help them remember in their hearts and minds that they are good writers and readers and get an experience that they will never forget.”

With a help from a member of the Inaugural team, the kids practiced saying the name “Hickenlooper”. Collin’s win in the competition earned an invitation to the Inauguration for his whole class.

Also Wednesday, CBS4 was there to honor a great young photographer at Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette. Jack Dickson, a member of the senior class, won for his timeless photographs of rural Colorado. Some of the winning submissions were a miraculous sunset, a classic car, and birds flying over an irrigation system. He actually broke his camera taking so many pictures across the state.

The budding photographer is also studying political science so the significance of an invitation to the Inauguration is not lost on him.

“I worked on a political campaign this summer. So this next step in politics will be a real honor,” said Dickson.

Entering the contest was an English class project. Kristie Letter, a Peak to Peak teacher, says attending the Inauguration will be an honor for the entire class of talented students.

“I am most excited to see this particular group of students, with so much possibility, to see them with the movers and the shakers of Colorado.” Letter continued,  “I have zero doubt that in a few years that’s where they are going to be. They’ll be the movers and shakers.”

Here is the complete list of winners:
• Collin Lowe, first-grader from Dalton Elementary School in Aurora wrote a paragraph and drew an accompanying picture.
• Isabel McGivney, second-grader from Fountain International Magnet School in Pueblo performed an original musical composition on her piano.
• Kenna Thomsen, fourth-grader from Skyview Elementary School in Windsor created a clay diorama of sites throughout Colorado.
• Gabriella Leone, fifth-grader from Fowler Elementary School in Fowler drew a picture of an Eastern Plains sunset.
• Gus Gill, eighth-grader from Merino Junior Senior High School in Merino wrote aseries of poems about the symbols of Colorado.
• Tabor Scholl, eighth-grader from Mountain Valley Christian Academy in Kremmling wrote an essay about Grand County.
• Destinee Reed, 10th-grader from Central High School in Grand Junction wrote and performed a song called “My Colorado.”
• Kristina Trujillo, 12th-grader from Florence High School created a PowerPoint presentation about her town of Florence.
• Jack Dickson, 12th-grader from Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette photographed sites from around the state.

– Written by Mark Ackerman for


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