Congratulations to Our #MIKidsCan Contest Winners!

#MiKidsCanBlue Cross, in partnership with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, recently challenged Michigan kids ages 7-14 to a create a two-minute video or submit a photo and short essay answering the question, “What’s your favorite way to get moving and be active?” Three finalists were chosen in each category. Winners were decided by a public vote in which more than 7,000 votes were cast online at

The votes are in and the winners of the #MIKidsCan contest are the students of Cass City Elementary School and Zharia Akeem, of Detroit.

About our video contest winners:

Students at Cass City Elementary in Tuscola County overcame strong competition to win the video portion of the contest and score a special visit from Stafford. This spring, Stafford will attend a special school assembly that will focus on the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

In their winning video, the students highlighted the many ways kids and teachers get active throughout the school day, including playing group sports in gym class and dancing in the cafeteria.

“I’m so happy our school won,” said Trent Patrick, a second-grader at  Cass City Elementary School. “Everyone is excited to meet Matthew Stafford. We can’t wait to see him when he visits our school.”

About our photo/essay contest winner:

Zharia Akeem’s winning essay focused on her favorite physical activity, basketball, and emphasized the importance of good sportsmanship and hard work (over size). She wanted to remind others that you don’t have to be the tallest kid in class to be a great basketball player. Zharia is a 12-year-old seventh-grader from Detroit who attends Bates Academy.

Her winning essay won her four tickets to the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game and autographed Detroit Lions gear.

“I am honored that so many people voted for my photo and essay,” said Akeem. “I entered the contest to show that a girl could be just as successful in sports and life as boys, so winning is a great personal accomplishment for me.”

Andrew Hetzel, vice president of corporate communications for Blue Cross, praised the winners for their hard work. “Teaching kids healthy habits is a community effort, and Blue Cross is proud our winners had such strong support from their schools, family and friends throughout the contest period.”

The #MIKidsCan Contest is an extension of Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help Michigan families make good choices leading to healthier lives. With a focus on improving children’s health, over the last 10 years Blue Cross has given more than $6 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 100,000 children. For more information on the #MIKidsCan Contest and Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter.

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