A specially painted Alaska Airlines jet adorned with a Honolulu high school student’s winning design honoring the culture of the Aloha State touched down today in Honolulu before a crowd of students, educators and travelers. The unique paint theme, dubbed the “Spirit of the Islands,” was created by 17-year-old Aaron Nee.
Nee’s design was selected from among more than 2,700 submissions by students across the Hawaiian Islands in a statewide “Paint-the-Plane” contest sponsored by Alaska Airlines, in partnership with the Hawaii State Department of Education and Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. A 10-member judging panel, comprised of Hawaii artists, educators and other local community members, carefully scored and selected the three top designs, which were then voted on by Hawaii residents in an online public vote.
As the grand prize winner, Nee received a trip for four to any of the carrier’s destinations and a $5,000 scholarship.
Nee’s winning design displays a voyaging canoe depicting the cultural diversity of the Islands, a bright yellow hibiscus (the state flower), the Hawaiian Island chain and the phrase “Spirit of the Islands.”
The “Spirit of the Islands” Boeing 737-800 was revealed to Nee at Honolulu International Airport, where he was joined by his parents, Robin and Mitch Connell, and father Aaron Garrett Nee, as well as Hawaii Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney, Kaiser High School Principal John Sosa and several of Nee’s teachers. Also joining the welcoming ceremony were the 12 finalists and honorable mention winners, who received prizes and scholarships for their entries, as well.
“Congratulations to Aaron and the other students who are sharing the true spirit of the Islands through their designs,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii State Department of Education. “We are grateful to Alaska Airlines for providing this opportunity for our students to shine.”
Source: Alaska Airlines Newsroom