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STJ photo contest calls on tots and toddlers

After three seasons of the popular Pet Idol photo contest, the Times-Journal is changing things up a little. And, the contestants competing are far more different … and cuter.

The newspaper’s Cutest Tots-N-Toddler contest began accepting registrations Feb. 1 and will continue through Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Entry fees are $10 per contestants and the tiny contestants must be born on or after Jan. 1, 2009.

The registration proceeds and those raised through three rounds of voting will go to support Newspapers In Education, a program through which the Times-journal provides newspaper to area classrooms during the school year.

Teachers use the newspapers to supplement their lesson plans while teaching about reading, mathematics, social studies and current events.

“The NIE program is one of the more important partnerships we have in the community,” Times-Journal publisher Dennis Palmer said. “To know teachers are using these newspapers each week to help in the classroom is tremendously gratifying.”

Just like Pet Idol, the Cutest Tots-N-Toddler contest will feature three rounds of voting, where fans of contestants can vote to help their favorite contestant advance toward the final round. Each vote costs 25 cents.

Photos of the contestants will be published in The Selma Times-Journal during each round of voting.

The first round of voting is scheduled to begin March 1 and end March 14. Half of the contestants will move on to the second round, and then 10 will proceed to the final round of voting, which will end at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 11.

Shane Gaut, Times-Journal circulation manager, said he looks for the Cutest Tots-N-Toddlers contest to build on the success of Pet Idol photo contests that were held in recent years.

“During the last three years, Pet Idol has served as our NIE fundraiser and it proved to be a tremendous success and you can bet it will be back in the future. But I felt like we needed to mix it up a little this year,” Gaut said.

“Pet Idol enabled us to put over 96,000 newspapers in the hands of school children, and I’m looking forward to continuing that success with the Cutest Tots-n-Toddlers contest.”

The contestants who make it to the final round will appear in the Times-Journal on Saturday, March 29 and Saturday, April 5.

The first, second and third place winners will be recognized in the Times-Journal on Thursday, April 16.

The first place winner will be awarded with a photo session with Tammy Simms Photography.

To register, bring a completed registration form along with a photo of the contestant and entry fee to the Times-Journal office, or mail to P.O. Box 611, Selma, AL 36702.

Votes may be made in person, or over the phone, using a credit or debit card, at 875-2110.