Aviation News

January 11, 2013

Paint The Plane: Alaska Airlines Jet To Wear Hawaiian Student’s Colorful Design

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By: Matt Molnar
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The winning design created by high school student Aaron Nee. (Image courtesy of Alaska Airlines)
The winning design created by high school student Aaron Nee. (Image courtesy of Alaska Airlines)
Eleventh-grader Aaron Nee on Thursday was awarded the grand prize in the Alaska Airlines Hawaii-themed Paint the Plane contest.

Gallery: See All 13 Paint The Plane Contest Winners

Nee beat out over 2,700 entries from fellow Hawaiian students in kindergarten through 12th grade who were asked, “What does ‘Spirit of the Islands’ mean to you?”

According to Alaska, Nee’s design “displays a voyaging canoe depicting how Polynesians first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, a bright yellow hibiscus (the state flower), the Hawaiian Island chain and the phrase ‘Spirit of the Islands.’”

Nee’s winning entry will appear on one of Alaska’s Boeing 737-800 jets later this year, and he also gets a $5,000 scholarship and a trip for four to any Alaska Airlines destination. Nee says that destination will be be New York, where the Hawaii native hopes to see snow for the first time.

The second and third place contestants, Izabela Hamilton (12th grade) and Sophia Cleek (6th grade) also scored prizes in the form of $1,000 scholarships and Alaska Airlines trips.

Alaska’s judging committee—comprised of Hawaii artists, educators and other local community members—also chose 10 entrants for honorable mention, each of whom will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

“We’re thrilled with Aaron’s beautiful design depicting some of the most iconic features of the Aloha State and look forward to sharing his plane across our route network,” said Mark Bocchi, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of sales and community marketing. “We were awestruck by the creativity of all the designs that were submitted. We applaud Izabela and Sophia for their stunning artwork as well as the 10 honorable mentions whose designs stood out as the best from their grade level.”

Aaaron Nee poses with classmates