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Three local toddler girls made their parents proud by taking first, second and third place in The Gazette’s Beautiful Baby Photo Contest for 2011.
The contest raised funds to support The Gazette’s Newspaper in Education program, which provides area schools with newspapers for educational use in the classroom.
Readers voted for their favorites in the contest by donating 25 cents per vote to NIE. There were 18 initial contestants and the winners were chosen based on cumulative voting during three elimination rounds and then a final round.
The winners are: Noelle Evans, first place; Rylee Hawks, second place; and Gianna Lynn Lomanno, third place.
Top vote-getter Noelle Evans will be 10 months old on Oct. 23. She is the daughter of Dwayne and Misty Evans of Independence.
Her grandparents are Ro and Stacey Glasco, and Floyd and Shirley Spencer.
Noelle’s mom said she wanted to enter the contest to show others how beautiful Noelle is.
“And that picture doesn’t do her justice,” she said. “Her dad and grandpa, Ro, picked that one out, but I really wanted to show off her beautiful eyes and hair and beautiful smile.”
Noelle was named for the holiday season. She was expected to be born on Christmas day, but arrived early on Dec. 23, 2010.
Noelle has just started walking and loves to sing and dance. She hums along when any music is playing, and if you turn off the music, she gets fussy, her mom said.
“I have four children, and I have never seen a kid enjoy music as much as she does.”
Noelle also enjoys being around animals and being outside.
“We had her on a horse, and when we took her off of it, she threw a fit,” Evans said. “She’s full of herself all the way around.”
Evans said she is going to keep it a secret for a few days that Noelle won the contest, because she can’t wait for the grandparents to be surprised when they see this announcement in the newspaper.
Evans won with 2,032 votes.
Second place winner is Rylee Hawks. She just turned 11 months old.
She is the daughter of Brad and Mallory Hawks of Galax.
Her grandparents are Tony and Debbie Shaw and Alan and Rita Hawks.
“She’s a pretty cute baby, if I do say so myself,” said her mom, of why she chose to enter Rylee into the photo contest. “We’re really excited and proud of her.”
Her favorite activity is listening to stories. When her mom and dad read her “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” she listens contentedly.
Her favorite musician is Tim McGraw. “When she’s crying, we turn Tim McGraw on, and she stops and listens,” Mallory Hawks. “She just loves music.”
She enjoys eating, too. Her favorite foods are yogurt and green beans.
Rylee had 1,809 votes.
Winning third place is Gianna Lynn Lomanno, who will turn 14 months old Oct. 30.
She is the daughter of John and Melanie Lomanno of Fries.
Her grandparents are Linda Lake and Steven Schersel and John Lomanno.
Gianna’s mom enrolled her into the contest “just for fun,” she said, and because she is a beautiful, friendly and happy baby.
“We’re excited that she got third place,” said Lomanno. “We appreciate everyone’s votes that voted for Gianna.”
Gianna loves to sing and dance and clap her hands to music. Her favorite song is “10 Little Indians,” and she enjoys singing with babysitter Peggy Funk, whom she calls Nanna.
Her favorite TV show is “Dinosaur Train.” When it comes on, she gets excited and sings and dances, her mother said.
Gianna also has fun playing with the family’s three toy poodles. “When they come near, she says, ‘Doggie,’” her mom said. “And then she tries to crawl after them.”
Gianna had 1,604 votes.
Ada Jade Combs was fourth in voting, and Dakota Thompson was fifth.