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June 12, 2014 05:15 PM

Positively KELOLAND: Parker Students Win $14,000

Sioux Falls, SD

Friends and family gather at the Sioux Falls airport to welcome home 20 Parker students from New York City.

The group, led by art teacher Dave Fuller, is returning home from the big city following a big win.

"One of my students said there was a welcome home but I thought it might be in Parker and came down the escalator and there was a whole bunch of people here cheering and yelling so that was really cool," Fuller said.

It's hard not to be excited.  The Parker students competed against thousands of schools and their hand-painted shoes earned them third place in a national competition.  They won first place for "Local Flavor" for this pair of shoes featuring Mount Rushmore.  All together that earned them $14,000 for the Parker art department.

Now if there was one bad thing about this experience, it's that the students weren't able to take home the shoes they spent hours working on.

"They were some sweet shoes and I wish I would have been able to wear the local flavor and the action sports. I thought they were really cool shoes," Ryan John said.

Thanks to those really cool shoes and votes from people across KELOLAND, the kids won a trip to New York City. It's a journey these kids will never forget.

"The project was fun and I learned a lot.  That if you put a lot of time into stuff that good things come out of it and you get awarded with, in some cases, a trip to New York like we did," Payton Jensen said.

As for the art teacher who gets to spend the $14,000, Fuller has plenty of ideas from computers to a 3D printer.

"I always look for new things for the kids to do, so I got a long list," Fuller said.

"He's the best art teacher you can have," John said.

Parker, a school district of just under 400 kids, was in the top five with school districts that boast over 30,000 students. There were 2,000 other schools in the running at the beginning of the competition.

Watch more Positively KELOLAND stories.

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