Williams-Cone School Principal Randa Rineer stands side by side with her snowman twin, built by her students on Feb. 8. Photo contributed by Ella Anderson

Williams-Cone Elementary School in Topsham and Leroy Smith Elementary School in Winterport faced off in a snowman-making tiebreaker Wednesday afternoon to determine the winner of the annual WinterKids Winter Games.

The school that best embodies “the essence” of their principal with snow will win. Both schools will submit photos of their tiebreaker snowmen for judging, and the winner will be announced Feb. 15.

After four weeks of outdoor activities, competitions, guest speakers, nutrition lessons, fundraisers, art projects and a winter carnival, both Williams-Cone and Leroy Smith were deadlocked this week for first place.

Schools were judged based on the number of tasks they completed and earned extra points for community participation, smiles and general enthusiasm, according to school officials.

WinterKids is a nonprofit that launched its winter games six years ago to expand health education throughout Maine schools, according to its website.

Sixteen schools competed in the games for a chance to win $30,000 in cash prizes. Nine of the 16 schools had participated in previous years, but this was a first for Williams-Cone.

Williams-Cone was chosen to represent Sagadahoc County in November after the school submitted a video petitioning to be in the games.

Last Thursday, Williams-Cone students wore hand-painted masks and marched in a winter parade to conclude the games. Students were joined by teachers, parents, SAD 75 Superintendent Steve Connolly and Deputy Commissioner of Education Dan Chuhta for an outdoor dance party after the parade.

Williams-Cone Principal Randa Rineer said she advocated for her students to participate in the games because it initiated positive emotional and mental health. At the closing ceremony last week, Rineer said she “never doubted” her students and knew they had “as good a chance as any to win.”

Williams-Cone School fifth graders lead the school in the winter carnival parade on Feb. 2. Maria Skillings / The Times Record

Students wave their yeti flags during a winter carnival dance party. Maria Skillings / The Times Record

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