Morgan Finelt, from Ambuehl Elementary School, was selected from more than 2,000 Capistrano Unified School District fourth- and fifth- graders as the winner of the Elephant Parade: Welcome to America design contest. Courtesy photo
Morgan Finelt, from Ambuehl Elementary School, was selected from more than 2,000 Capistrano Unified School District fourth- and fifth- graders as the winner of the Elephant Parade: Welcome to America design contest. Courtesy photo

By The Capistrano Dispatch

Ambuehl Elementary School student Morgan Finelt was named the winner of the Elephant Parade: Welcome to America design contest, the Resorts of Dana Point and the Asian Elephant Foundation recently announced.

More than 2,000 fourth- and fifth- graders from the Capistrano Unified School District went through a two-week educational course about the plight of the Asian elephant and each decorated a small elephant sculpture inspired by their experience.

Finelt’s winning design, “Bright Beauty,” features an intricate pattern using geometric shapes and bright colors. Her design is currently being painted on a 6-foot-tall elephant sculpture with the help of Kent Baker, visual arts instructor at Capistrano Valley High School.

Upon completion, Finelt’s design will join dozens of others in a 10-week tour launching August 23 in Dana Point. In November, Finelt’s elephant will be auctioned off, with 15 percent of the proceeds going to her school. Her design joins a collection of elephant sculptures decorated by 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.

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