Boldly Going

Middle school students finish first, third in statewide art contest

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Sophie Greenley, left, and Kylie Mass, 8th grade art students at Yukon Middle School, placed first and third in a statewide art contest. Their work has advanced to an upcoming national competition in Washington D.C. (Photo by Mindy Ragan Wood)

By Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – Two Yukon Middle School students placed in the top three for their age division in a state art competition.

Sophie Greenley and Kylie Mass competed against at least 1,300 other students in the 2018 State Aviation Art Contest. Greenley placed first and Mass third in the intermediate division for ages 10 to 13. Their submissions are headed to Washington D. C. for the national competition and a chance to enter the international contest.

“I was quite surprised,” Greenley said of her reaction to the news she had won first place.

“I didn’t think I would make it that far.”

Mass said she did not imagine she would do so well.

“I was pretty happy because I never win anything I enter,” she said. “It was a big surprise.”

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission sponsored the competition and required students to submit a space themed work of art. Mass and Greenley’s submissions are water color paintings.

Greenley’s piece captures a moment in which a woman who appears to be surrounded by futuristic technology enjoys the timeless pastime of a book and a mug of coffee. Mass painted a space craft descending on a city, which seems to hint at the growth of technology that continues to reshape the world of business and community life.

No matter what interpretations their work may draw, both students said they love art.

“I like the joy of seeing people when I show them my art. It started off as a hobby, but now I do it a lot. Why stop now,” Greenley said.

Both students plan to explore art careers.

Mass said she appreciates a sense of freedom in art.

“I like that I can make anything I want and there are no rules,” she said.

Jeanette Bechtol

The girls’ eighth grade art teacher, Jeanette Bechtol, said she is proud of both girls.

“I was so excited, thrilled when I found out, but I wasn’t surprised because I loved what they did,” she said.

Greenley will receive a $200 cash prize and Mass $100. Winners will be presented with certificates of achievement and citations from their state senator and state representative. A ceremony for the participating and winning students will be held 1:30 p.m., March 8, in the Governor’s Blue Room at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“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 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, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Ken Cook Co.