Tate James Rosendahl, the 11-month-old son of Ron and Amy Jo Rosendahl, of Springfield, has been selected as the winner of the 2011 Gerber Generation Photo Search. Tate's mom, Amy, is a 2001 graduate of Cassville High School. His grandparents include Jim and Diane Larson, of Shell Knob, and Ron and Linda Rosendahl, of Willard.
With an adorable smile and bright blue eyes, Tate was chosen as the grand prize winner from over 156,000 entries in the online contest. As the winner, Tate will receive a $50,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to New York City where he will be photographed for a national print campaign.
"After reviewing submissions, there is no doubt that there are an incredible number of adorable children that make up the Gerber Generation," said Cathy Abramski, marketing director for Nestle infant nutrition. "We are excited to now work with Tate, who will help us continue to demonstrate our commitment to early childhood nutrition through our Gerber Generation communications campaign."
The contest was conducted through Gerber's Facebook page where parents could submit a photo of their children. At the end of the entry period, a panel of judges evaluated the photos on charm, expressiveness and consistency with Gerber's heritage.
Amy said she was already a fan of the Gerber Facebook page when an announcement about the contest hit her news feed and she decided to enter Tate in the contest.
"I love taking pictures of my son and sharing them with family and friends, so I thought it would be cool to see Tate's little round face in that classic Gerber circle," said Amy. "I settled on the photo that I thought showed Tate's fun and playful personality. If nothing else, I knew Tate's grandmas would get a hoot out of seeing him on Gerber's Facebook page."
When Amy received a message via email that Tate was the grand prize winner, her first reaction was disbelief.
"I think I re-read the email announcement 10 times and was still skeptical until I called Gerber to confirm," said Amy. "And then I was so overwhelmed, I started to cry. I was just giddy and joyful and filled with so much gratitude that my son was blessed with such good fortune.
"I think that my son is the most adorable baby in the world, but I'm sure all moms think the same thing about their children," added Amy.
Tate's photo shoot in the Big Apple will be his first modeling gig, and Amy says she is not sure if she will pursue additional modeling opporrunities for her photogenic son.
"Any actions we take will be in Tate's best interest," said Amy. "We do not want to pass up opportunities for Tate and what this may mean to him in his future. We are just taking it one step at a time."
The $50,000 scholarship Tate will receive from Gerber is a financial blessing for the Rosendahls who were already making plans for their son's college fund.
"Saving money for our children's college has always been a priority for my husband and me, and something we had talked about even before we had kids," said Amy. "Having this generous scholarship to put away for Tate now is a huge financial burden off our shoulders."
Tate is an only child, but Amy says he seems anxious for a little brother or sister. Until that time comes, Tate is entertained by two furry friends -- a Golden retriever named Juneau and an adopted calico cat named Chester. He also enjoys playing with his 19 cousins and his two sets of loving, supportive grandparents.
To view Tate's photo and other Gerber Generation Photo Search entries, visit apps.facebook.com/gerberphotosearch.