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 “A Friendlier World with Air Sports.”
“This is a great time for students to plan for aviation careers,” State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies said. “We believe our mission is more important now than ever to reach students to inspire 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, Chloe Childs, from the Academy of Classical Christian Studies South Campus in Oklahoma City, took home first prize. This year’s second-place winner in the Junior Division was Lane Ward from Ada Public School in Ada. The third place and honorable mention categories for this age group were not supported by the number of entries.
Jodessa Hamlett from Hobart, a student at Kenneth O’Neal Middle School took top honors in the Intermediate Division, ages 10-13. Taking second was Alan Rodriguez, and third was Harper Talley also from Kenneth O’Neal Middle School. Receiving an Honorable Mention in the division, Marian Winchell, is a homeschool student from Noble.
Vanoss Public School’s, Emma Slaton, from Ada finished atop the Senior Division, ages 14-17, followed by Kaci Anderson, a student at Hobart High School in Hobart. Patience Williams took third, while Joan Willis received an honorable mention in the division. Both are from Ada Junior High School in Ada.
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.
Judges for this year’s art contest were all pilots, including State Representative Wendi Stearman, House District 11, a student pilot; Adam Fox, El Reno Airport Manager, a private pilot with a degree in Aviation Management; Matthew Ranck, P.E., C.M., CFM. with Delta Airport Consultants who also recently earned his private pilot license; and, Chase Rutledge, a KOCO Channel 5 News helicopter pilot and journalist.
“As a pilot, a civil engineer and most importantly a homeschool father, I love to teach and celebrate young people who choose a path in life that not only improves their quality of life, but the quality of life for others too! Seeing aviation thru the eyes of our youth in this year’s competition clearly showed that aviation in Oklahoma has a bright future! Congratulations to ALL of the contestants for their hard work this year,” said Ranck.
"What an honor to be asked again to judge the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s art contest. I consider it a privilege to represent the helicopter community this year as all of us as judges get to see such artistic talent in our Oklahoma youth. This contest gets better every year," said Rutledge.
"It was my pleasure to join fellow aviation professionals in judging the 2021 Aviation Art Contest. This contest could very well be the event that encourages these young students to pursue careers in aviation and aerospace," said Fox.
The 2021 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 Matthew Ranck, P.E., C.M., CFM. with Delta Airport Consultants, State Representative Wendi Stearman, House District 11; Chase Rutledge, a KOCO Channel 5 News helicopter pilot; and Adam Fox, El Reno Airport Manager.