By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) has announced the names of twelve students that placed in the Oklahoma 2019 International Aviation Art Contest.
The state-level art contest, sponsored by the OAC, encourages youth, ages 6 to 17, to reflect on aviation by designing a piece of art based on the year’s chosen theme. This year’s contest theme is “My Dream to Fly.”
In the year 2014, 35 students participated. In 2015, there were 85 entrants. A total of 132 students contributed in 2016 and the contest yielded 1,112 entries from 73 schools statewide in 2017. The entries for 2018 accounted for 1,301 entries and 81 schools across the state.
In 2019, the agency received 1,220 entries from 86 schools, marking the most participating schools since the OAC began hosting the contest. The agency attributes the success to their aviation art contest calendar, which is mailed to all of the public and private schools across the state.
This year’s contest was recently judged by “celebrities” from the Oklahoma aviation and aerospace community.
In the Junior Division, ages 6 to 9, Brecker Tubbs, from Ator Elementary in Owasso, took home first prize. This year’s second-place winner was Chloe Childs from Community Christian School in Norman. Third place went to Haven Herrod, from Latta Public Schools in Ada. Ruby Nix, a student at Holy Trinity Lutheran School in Edmond, received an honorable mention.
Channing Reames, from Guthrie Upper Elementary, took top honors in the Intermediate Division, ages 10-13. Second place was Faith Lawson from Willard Elementary School in Ada, and Anneliese Weir, also a student at Willard Elementary, placed third. Receiving an honorable mention was Marcelo Casas, Jr., a student at Hooker Public Schools.
Guymon High School’s Adamariz Veleta led the Senior Division, ages 14-17, followed by Omar Lira, also a student at Guymon High. Ashlynn Buchanan from Enid High School took third. Maricza Lopez from Kingfisher High School received an honorable mention in the division.
“Recently we learned from a comprehensive economic impact study of aviation and aerospace activity, that aviation and aerospace has become the second largest industry in the state providing over 206,000 jobs. We must have skilled and competent workers for that industry to remain viable,” said Vic Bird, OAC director.
“The annual Oklahoma Aviation Art Contest is critical to stimulating aviation interest among young minds. If we can reach them at the earliest of ages, we can guide them into STEM based education and aviation and aerospace careers.”
Contest judges included Brian Dahlvang, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Monroney Center communications program specialist, who is a graphic designer and artist; Aeronautics District 4 Commissioner Lindy Ritz, former FAA Monroney Center director and president of the Ritz Group, and assistant director of the FAA Center of Excellence; Brigadier General Ben T. Robinson, former Commander, 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base and owner of Century One, LLC; Rep. Tammy West (R-Bethany and Warr Acres), Assistant Majority Whip and Majority Caucus Chair; Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 5, Chase Rutledge, pilot and journalist for KOCO’s Sky5 helicopter; Britton Lee, single and multi-engine certified flight instructor and designated pilot examiner, and airframe and powerplant mechanic; and Jeff James, vice president of aerospace education for the Air Force Association Gerrity Chapter #215.
“We were greatly pleased with the number of schools and students represented in rural and urban areas,” said Sandra Shelton, contest organizer and public information officer for the Commission. “The Commission is purposefully removed from any of the judging aspects of the contest, and the outcome is based solely on the volunteer judges from the aviation and aerospace community.
“We thank every teacher who participated in the contest and encouraged their students to enter, and we hope they will enter again next year.”
First-place winners in each of the three age categories receive $200, while the second-place winners receive $150. A cash prize of $100 is presented to students who place third, and honorable mention will receive $50.
The top three entries in each age division are forwarded to Washington, D.C., where they compete nationally against other winners from the U.S. for the right to advance to the international competition.
The 2019 International Aviation Art Contest is sponsored in part by the National Aeronautic Association, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, National Association of State Aviation Officials, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education, Federal Aviation Administration and the Ken Cook Co.
Contest winners will be presented with certificates of achievement and citations from their respective state senator and representative on Tuesday, March 19, during the Aviation and Aerospace Awareness Day at the State Capitol.
Many of the state’s top aerospace organizations will have exhibit booths on the fourth and second floor rotundas to promote their organizations. Registration is free to all attendees. Lunch tickets are available separately for $10 per person plus the Eventbrite fee. Available amount of lunch tickets is limited due to space.
For more information, contact Sandra Shelton at 405-604-6915 or visit oac.ok.gov.