Aaliyah Morris and Hayden Roberts with Tullahoma Parade Committee

East Middle School seventh-graders Hayden Roberts, third from left front, and Aaliyah Morris, fourth from left front, submitted the winning entry in the Christmas parade theme contest, the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce announced this week. They submitted identical themes: “A Cartoon Christmas,” which was overwhelmingly selected by the chamber’s parade committee.

The Tullahoma Christmas parade theme has been chosen by the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce, and it came from two East Middle School students.

According to Tullahoma City Schools Communications Specialist Zach Birdsong, East seventh-graders Aaliyah Morris and Hayden Roberts came up with the winning theme idea for the Tullahoma Christmas Parade, sponsored by Stan McNabb Automotive.

The chamber asked students in Tullahoma City Schools to come up with possible themes for the annual Christmas parade for the second year in a row after seeing immense success last year with the student theme of “Candyland Christmas,” in honor of last year’s parade grand marshal Candy Couch.

According to Birdsong, more than 100 entries were submitted this year, giving the parade committee plenty of options to consider. While there were “several great themes” in the running, the overwhelming winner was “A Cartoon Christmas,” which came from Hayden and Aaliyah.

The students were surprised at school Tuesday, Sept. 28, with an announcement from the chamber by chamber representatives. They were called to the main office where East Principal Dr. Woody Dillehay delivered the good news.

“You could see the excitement on their faces when I told them that their entry had won,” Dillehay said. “To be able to deliver that type of news is always exciting, and you could just see the happiness that it brought them. We at East Middle School are proud of these young ladies for having their theme be selected.”

“We appreciate the partnership with the Tullahoma City School system,” the chamber said in a statement. “The committee was drawn to Aaliyah Morris and Hayden Roberts’ matching submissions because their choice created a bit of fun and energy that we’d like to bring to the parade this year. The parade theme that was chosen, ‘A Cartoon Christmas,’ will allow entries to include their favorite family-friendly cartoon character.”

Aaliyah and Hayden will receive a free entry in this year’s parade for having submitted the winning theme. The Christmas parade is set for Friday, Dec. 3.

Managing Editor

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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