She joins the ranks of athletes, celebrities and models, starring in a new GOT MILK? ad sponsored by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). Fifteen-year-old Vanessa Gill won first place in the 2011 GOT MILK? Breakfast Photo Contest -- earning herself $1,000 and her very own billboard in her hometown of Glendora. She submitted a one-of-a-kind photo showing why breakfast with milk is important for overall health and academic performance. Gill's submission stood out among dozens and dozens of entries from teens all over the Golden State: a cleverly drawn milk jug made up of complex math formulas, a picture of Albert Einstein, and, of course, cereal with milk!
"I never imagined I would be the star of my own billboard," said the Glendora High School sophomore. "I entered the contest to remind my peers about the importance of a nutritious breakfast with milk for academic success. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and just like my books and homework, I never leave home without it!"
At the start of the 2011-2012 school year, GOT MILK? challenged teens ages 13-18 statewide to submit original photos depicting why breakfast with milk is important for overall health and academic performance. The contest, now in its second year, is part of GOT MILK?'s ongoing efforts to keep breakfast consumption with milk top of mind among teenagers. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that as many as one-third of adolescents skip breakfast regularly, putting them at an academic disadvantage. Studies show that those who skip breakfast have lower attention spans and produce lower test scores.
"This was a contest that resonated with teens and allowed us to connect with them," said Steve James, executive director of the CMPB. "They heard and understood our message. Having a nutritious breakfast with milk also has a myriad of health benefits including strong bones, teeth, muscles, hair and nails."
Gill's photo can be seen on a billboard starting today near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Historic Route 66 in Glendora. With her $1,000 prize, the 4.0 student plans to put half of her winnings in her college saving account, donate $100 to cancer research and use the rest to take her mom out to a nice dinner.
The women's water polo team from Palm Springs High School, showing how milk helps build strong muscles in athletes, was the runner up in the contest. They received $200 for their participation. Notable mentions also went to Eureka High School's Advancement Via Individual Determination class, as well as Amy Quinto and Jaylee Waddell of Pleasant Valley High School in Chico. Each of them earned a $100 gift card.