2018 State Aviation Art Contest Winners Announced

Artists to be Recognized During Ceremony at State Capitol in March

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 15, 2018)The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission announced the names of thirteen students that placed in the Oklahoma 2018 International Aviation Art Contest, adding a new Heart of Oklahoma Aviation Honor (HOOAH) award for an exceptional art entry by a student with a disability.

The state-level Aviation Art Contest, sponsored by the Aeronautics Commission, 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 was “Flight into the Future.”

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.  The agency attributes their success to their aviation art contest calendar mailed to over 2,300 Oklahoma schools. 

“Last summer 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,” director of aeronautics Vic Bird said. “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.”

In the Junior Division, ages 6 to 9, Isabella Walker, from Robin Hill School in Norman, took home first prize. This year’s second-place winner was Sydney Morgan from Morrison Elementary School in Morrison, while third place went to Abigail Burt, also from Robin Hill School in Norman.  Mona Biondich received an honorable mention from the judges and is a student at Newcastle Elementary School in Newcastle.

Sophia Greenley from Yukon, a student at Yukon Middle School took top honors in the Intermediate Division, ages 10-13. Taking second was Vareeeksha Sharma from Hooker Public Schools in Hooker, while Kylie Mass, also from Yukon, a student at Yukon Middle School, placed third. Receiving an Honorable Mention in the division, Natalee Osborn, is also a student at Hooker Public Schools in Hooker.

Vanoss Public School’s Laura Rose from Vanoss finished atop the Senior Division, ages 14-17, followed by Michelle Montes, a student at Guymon High School in Guymon. Janessa Chastain from Maryetta School in Stillwell, took third. Angela Luna from Dove Science Academy from Tulsa received an honorable mention in the division.

The first-ever HOOAH recognition was awarded to Trevor Rooney from Cimarron Middle School in Edmond.  Trevor’s entry was considered along with the other 1,300 plus works without the judge’s knowledge in the manner of which his entry was created.  The young man painted the entire work using his mouth and acrylic paint.

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 HOOAH award will receive a $100 prize as well. In addition to the cash prizes, the winners are also presented with certificates of achievement as well as citations from their respective state senator and state representative.

“We were greatly pleased with the diversity of the winning entries from students represented in rural and urban areas.  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.  This year, their task was very difficult, as the judges deliberated for over three hours.  This was largely due to the unprecedented talent of the entries submitted to the agency,” said Sandra Shelton, contest organizer and public information officer for the Commission. “We thank every teacher who participated in the contest and encouraged their students to enter, and we hope they will enter again next year.”

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.

Judges for this year’s art contest were State Senator Paul Rosino, Senate District 45, retired Navy Aircrewman; Braden Hobaugh, an aerospace systems engineer for Northrop Grumman; Evin Jefferson, Atlantic Aviation's General Manager at Wiley Post Airport; Colonel Bradley White, a pilot for the Oklahoma National Guard and American Airlines; Barbara McNally, Lawton-Fort Sill Airport Manager; and our Head Judge, Chase Rutledge, a KOCO Channel 5 News and Oklahoma National Guard helicopter pilot and journalist.

“I was elated to see this unprecedented level of interest as this industry tackles the largest shortage of pilots in history.  The future has never been brighter for Oklahoma kids who follow their dreams into every aspect of aviation,” said contest judge Colonel Bradley White, deputy director, for the Joint Task Force for the Oklahoma National Guard.

A ceremony for the participating and winning students will be held March 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm in the Governor’s Blue Room at the Oklahoma State Capitol.  Students and teachers are encouraged to attend.

The 2018 International Aviation Art Contest is sponsored, in large 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.

(CUTLINE: Pictured left to right are State Senator Paul Rosino, Senate District 45, retired Navy Aircrewman; Braden Hobaugh, an aerospace systems engineer for Northrop Grumman; Evin Jefferson, Atlantic Aviation's General Manager at Wiley Post Airport; Victor Bird, Director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (not a judge); Col. Brad White, a pilot for the Oklahoma National Guard and American Airlines; Barbara McNally, Lawton-Fort Sill Airport Manager; and our Head Judge, Chase Rutledge, a KOCO Channel 5 News and Oklahoma National Guard helicopter pilot and journalist.)