Franciscan alumni win Gerber prize

STEUBENVILLE – What started as a chance entry in a simple photo contest turned into twice the fun for Franciscan University of Steubenville alumni, Matthew and Amanda (Robezzoli) Strickland (’12). After entering their 11-month-old twins, Levi and Paxton, in Gerber’s annual Photo Search contest, the Wernersville, Pa. natives can now boast the 2013 Grand Prize.

“We are so excited that Levi and Paxton’s photo won the Grand Prize – it still doesn’t feel real,” said Amanda Strickland.

The twins were selected from more than 156,000 entries on Gerber’s Facebook page. A panel of Gerber judges reviewed the entries to find children from birth to preschool age whose photos “demonstrated expressiveness and consistency with Gerber’s heritage,” according to a press release. The photo that best met these criteria was selected as the Grand Prize winner.

While winning doesn’t mean there will be two new faces on Gerber’s baby food jars, Paxton -“Pax” for short -and Levi will get to appear in a Gerber advertisement in 2014; the Stricklands will also receive a $50,000 cash prize, which they say is going straight into the boys’ college fund.

“It feels great,” Matthew told Fox News. “We just feel really blessed for having both these guys.”

While on campus, Amanda, an education major, was a member of Stella Mariae household and Matthew, who studied international business, played on the Baron rugby team.