Gaithersburg Boy

Is Twinkie Finalist

* Tomas Gaigalas, 11, wants to be a surgeon when he grows up, but for now he's happy to be known as a Twinkie artist.

The rising sixth-grader from Gaithersburg is one of 10 finalists in a national contest run by the cream-filled cake people at Hostess to design a new box for Twinkies' 75th birthday.

Tomas got the idea to enter the contest when he was at the grocery store and saw it advertised. "I came up with a lot of different designs. It took me about a week to come up with the one that I really liked," he said.

Apparently the folks at Hostess liked it, too. They received more than 1,300 entries and picked drawings by kids ages 6 to 11 as the finalists. Tomas found out he made the cut when "we got a letter from the Twinkie people."

Tomas, who has taken special art classes, said, "I really like drawing and painting."

The design that will wind up on Twinkie anniversary boxes will be decided by Twinkie eaters. The finalists' drawings are posted at www.twinkies.com. If you go to the site, you can vote (once each day) for your favorite design.

The grand prize winner wins a $40,000 scholarship, but Tomas is already a winner. All the finalists receive $1,000 and a bike.

Tomas Gaigalas and his design.