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Kansas student places first in international aviation art contest

Kansas student places first in international aviation art contest

Jihyeon “Elly” Han, 14, doesn’t plan to pursue art as a career despite winning numerous state, national – and now, international – awards for her artwork. 

Instead, the recent eighth-grade Altamont Grade School graduate wants to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. 

Elly was recently notified that she received top honors in the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) art competition.  

The trip to international fame began for Elly when she submitted her artwork to the Kansas Department of Transportation’s (KDOT) Division of Aviation state-level art contest. KDOT received more than 120 art entries, and Elly placed second in the Kansas intermediate age category.  

Elly’s artwork, along with other winning pieces from Kansas, then moved on to the 2023 U.S. Youth Aviation Art Contest. 

More than 150 pieces of art from 20 participating states were entered into this year’s national art contest, which is sponsored by the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). 

The annual contest is part of an international effort to inspire youth to illustrate the importance of aviation through art. Contest submissions were grouped into three separate age categories for judging, allowing students ranging from 6-17 years of age to compete. The 2023 theme was “Air Sports and the Environment,” which encouraged students to create inspirational artwork showcasing how aviation can be a catalyst to protect the planet.  

Elly received first place in the intermediate category of the national contest, which meant her artwork advanced to the international contest. 

Last week, Elly learned that had received first place in the intermediate category of the international contest. 

“Aviators, now and in the future, have a responsibility to push forward the limits of human innovation and imagination to harness cleaner energy and minimize the impact of air sports on the earth and its atmosphere,” an article about the contest on the FAI website states. 

Elly is “really into preserving the earth and protecting it,” she said, so the contest means more to her than just winning a gold medal. 

“It amazes me how something that starts as a hobby can end up impacting the world,” she said. 

Her first creation for the state-level competition was quite different from the final piece she submitted, she said. After putting a lot of thought into her creation, she made several tweaks until she was happy with her final piece. 

This isn’t Elly’s first time winning an award for her artwork. The 14-year-old has won numerous state and national awards for her art, too. In fact, her artwork was used to promote National School Bus Safety Week in October 2022 after her drawing was named the overall winner of the 2021-2022 National School Bus Safety Poster Contest. She was the first national winner from Kansas.  

In June 2022, Elly was named the first-place winner in the sixth- through eighth-grade category of the Stride Art Competition. In 2020, she was named the winner of the National ELKS Drug Awareness Poster Contest.  

Elly has been interested in art since she was a young child, she said. In fact, her mother, Sangyeop Han, was an art teacher at an academy in South Korea before the family moved to the United States.  

Elly, who is a member of the Class of 2027, has big dreams after graduation from high school. 

“It would be an honor to attend an Ivy League school,” she said.  

As she mentioned, Elly doesn’t plan to make a career out of her art talent. She wants to keep it solely as a hobby, something she can use as a stress reliever, which may come in handy as she pursues her dream of becoming a doctor. 

Posted: May 18, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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