Maui Business

Seabury Hall Girl Second in ‘Paint-the-Plane’ Contest

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Students at Kaiser High School celebrate Aaron Nee’s (center with check) win. Courtesy photo.

By Sonia Isotov

Seabury Hall 12th grader, Izabela Hamilton, placed a close second behind Kaiser High School’s Aaron Nee, 16, who is the winner of “Spirit of the Islands” Paint-the-Plane contest, Alaska Airlines announced today.

Nee’s winning design displays a voyaging canoe depicting how Polynesians first arrived at the Hawaiian islands, a bright yellow hibiscus (the state flower), the Hawaiian island chain and the phrase “Spirit of the Islands.” Nee’s artwork will adorn an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft.


As the grand prize winner, Nee will also receive a trip for four to any of the carrier’s destinations and a $5,000 scholarship. The final design of the “Spirit of the Islands” will be unveiled during a special event at Honolulu International Airport later this year and the aircraft will fly to all cities throughout Alaska Airlines’ route network.

Winning design by Aaron Nee, 16, Kaiser High School. Courtesy photo.

Izabela Hamilton , a 12th grader at Seabury Hall, placed second for her design featuring a male and female hula dancer against a backdrop of ocean waves and windswept mountain cliffs.

Sophia Cleek , a sixth grader at Kapolei Middle School, placed third for her design depicting a voyaging canoe sailing around the islands. Hamilton and Cleek will each receive a trip for four to any Alaska Airlines destination and 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, in a written statement.

“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.”

The judging panel, comprised of Hawaii artists, educators and other local community members, carefully scored and selected the three top designs from more than 2,700 submissions created by students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

2nd Place design by Izabella Hamilton, a 12th grader from Seabury Hall. Courtesy photo.


The contest was sponsored by Alaska Airlines, the Hawaii Department of Education and Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.

The public participated in an online vote of the three finalist designs. More than 7,000 votes were cast, with Nee’s submission receiving 4,013 votes.

“The ‘Spirit of the Islands’ contest has been a wonderful partnership with Alaska Airlines and has provided a fantastic opportunity for some of the best student artists in our public schools to showcase their talents,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii Department of Education superintendent. “Congratulations to Aaron and the other student winners who have made us all proud.”

To view the top winning and honorable mention designs, visit

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