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Austin High sophomore wins Hormel holiday card contest

Sarah Willrodt, an Austin High School sophomore, designed this card to win the seventh annual contest to design a card for Hormel Foods. The design is entitled "Christmas Forest."

AUSTIN — An Austin High School sophomore who loves to celebrate Christmas, in part because of her grandmother, is going to share that holiday spirit this year not only with her family but also about 15,000 customers and friends of Hormel Foods.

A design by Sarah Willrodt is the winner in the seventh annual contest to design a card for the food company, Hormel announced Monday. Runners-up were Gabrielle Martinez, an eighth-grader in Bonsall, Calif., and Elizabeth Sheldon, a senior at Austin High School.

Willrodt won a $500 scholarship, and the runners-up $100 each, which is sent to the winner's chosen institution for art materials, supplies or education.

The contest is open to children kindergarten through high school senior who are children of Hormel employees in all its branches. About 50 children submitted designs nearly a year ago for the 2013 cards.

Hormel CEO Jeffrey M. Ettinger, in announcing the winners, said Willrodt's design will be on 15,000 cards, and the designs by the runners-up will be on about 7,500 each.


"We feel the quality of the art is as good as the quality of the art you can get from vendors," he said. Hormel also decided to have children do the artwork because "we feel it would be more engaging and more memorable."

Willrodt's design shows a family decorating a Christmas tree with a garland of yarn. Nearby are trees made of different paper or different colors and designs. "I like all the colors, and they do look like presents," she said. "It looks really happy."

The family in the picture is just a typical family, she said.

She did the work around the holidays last year, which is good because "you are still in the Christmas spirit," Willrodt said.

"I like Christmas and everything about it," she said. Her grandmother, Mary Willrodt, also loved Christmas and she takes after her, she said. "I did it for my grandma," she said.

Her father, Mark Willrodt, who is a senior staff engineer in Austin, said his daughter likes Christmas so much that she has holiday tunes on her iPod year-round.

"She decorates to the nines," said her mother, Sheri Willrodt, special services director for Austin Public Schools.

Their daughter is very creative in art, and even in cooking, she said.

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