Alton High freshman Stella Cowan.ALTON - Alton High School freshman Stella Cowan received some big news this week when she learned she was the winner of the Alton Halloween Parade Poster Contest. She was selected out of numerous entries.

Stella said she was really surprised by the announcement.

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“I was shocked,” she said. “There were some good entries, so I was really proud to win.”

The Alton freshman student said she has always loved art.

“My grandpa - William Cowan - is an amazing artist. He inspired me to become an artist. We have a special relationship through art," she said. "He likes to use a lot of different mediums. He is doing a lot of watercolor painting right now.”

Lexi Browning, Stella’s Alton High art teacher, said she thinks Stella is “amazing.”

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“I am very proud of the fact that she is a freshman and she took the project so seriously and worked so hard,” Browning said. “She is very creative and intelligent. Stella is so pleased she won.”

Browning said Stella draws really well and has a good sense of color.

“I hope to get her involved in more of my graphics design classes,” she said. “I am the graphics communications teacher. We have done this Alton Halloween Parade Poster Contest every year since my first year, which was in 1999.”

Stella said she believes Alton High’s vast arts program gives students "a lot of opportunities." The Alton High freshman also said Lexi Browning is a "really amazing teacher."

"She knows what to do to keep her students interested," explained Stella about Browning as an instructor.

The Alton Halloween Parade Poster Contest's first-place prize meant a lot to Stella and will help her continue her art career.

“I always wanted to be recognized for my work," she said. "I have done a few smaller projects, but this one was really important.”

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