Middle school students Christian Rodriguez and Alberto Huerta from Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy captured the grand prize in the 2009 Comerica Bank New Year’s Day Parade float design contest — $20,000 for the school and its art program. The students’ float theme was "Save the Earth", and they won first place based on votes from more than 18,000 parade attendees and viewers who called and texted their picks in "American Idol" fashion.

Dallas ISD middle schools submitted 56 design entries in the contest, and a panel of judges chose the top 10 designs which were all put together by professional float builders and featured in the parade.

Pictured are Ralph Babb, Comerica Bank CEO; David Blain, W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy principal; students Christian Rodriguez and Alberto Huerto; and art teacher JoAnna Henry.