Hospital system names inaugural holiday card design contest winners

Marisol Alvarez (left), Emily Santillana (center) and Brianna Contreras were named the winners of South Texas Health System's holiday card decorating contest on Thurday. (Courtesy photo)

EDINBURG — South Texas Health System, in partnership with Auxiliary to South Texas Health System, announced the winners of a special holiday card design contest in a celebratory event held here, right outside the main entrance of South Texas Health System Children’s building this Thursday.

Launched earlier this year, the contest held by STHS received more than 40 submissions from pediatric patients at the hospital and with the help of hospital leaders, four designs were randomly selected based on their creativity and overall essence of the design.

“We’ve had several entrees and I know the panel had a difficult time selecting the four cards behind me,” the associated administrator of South Texas Health System Children’s, Lily Ricketts said. “This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this before … so we feel the panel did an excellent job in selecting designs that really capture the spirit of the season.”

The four winning designs consisted of a snowman, a reindeer, a self-portrait with snowflakes and a portrait of the children’s hospital itself.

Tom Castañeda, the system director of marketing and public relations for STHS, hosted the celebration to a humble crowd consisting of colleagues, three of the four design winners and their family members.

The audience was kept small to comply by CDC and county guidelines during the current pandemic due to COVID-19.

Castañeda described it as an “intimate and socially distanced event.”

During the celebration, the winners went up one by one to discuss their designs.

“So, I just added my little brother, Jacob, and me under Santa and the elves and the Christmas tree,” 7-year-old Emily Santillana said. “We sometimes don’t see the snowflakes in their shape… I know that’s not how they are, however I still drew them like that.”

The chosen designs are to become part of the system’s 2020 official holiday cards to be mailed out through its contact list, but the cards are also available through purchase to the public in order to raise money for the Auxiliary charitable efforts.

“For the people who buy the set that includes my card design, I hope it brings you joy and puts a smile on your face,” said design winner Brianna Contreras in a news release.

At the end of the event, each winner received plaques customized with their very own winning designs as well as $25 gift cards along with a set of their own set of cards to give out.

The event was livestreamed and can be watched again on Facebook at South Texas Health System’s page.