OPERATION SAIL NAMES WINNERS OF ART AND ESSAY CONTESTS FOR BALTIMORE
Two High School Students Win Rides on Coast Guard Tall Ship EAGLE during transit into Baltimore on June 14
BALTIMORE (June 13, 2012) -- Two talented high school students – one from Baltimore and one from Cincinnati, Ohio – have been selected as local winners of the national Operation Sail essay and art contests. They have been invited to ride as guests of honor aboard America’s tall ship, the U.S. Coast Guard barque EAGLE, on June 14. EAGLE arrives in the Baltimore Inner Harbor at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
The winning essay was submitted by Allison Gayer, 15, a sophomore at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio. Her topic: “What The Star-Spangled Banner Means to Me.”
She will be accompanied on EAGLE by her father, James Ellwood Gayer. In order to collect her “prize”, Allison and her parents drove from Cincinnati to Baltimore. They plan to make a weekend of it during Baltimore’s historic Sailabration and learn about the history of the War of 1812 and where The Star-Spangled Banner was written.
During her freshman year, Allison was a member of her high school swim team, performed community service and was inducted into the Lakota East Freshman Honor Society, all while earning high academic honors and finishing in the top 25 in her class of 636.
Allison said she learned out about the OpSail contest through her Honors World Studies teacher, Mr. Carl Longworth. She wanted her unique perspective about The Star-Spangled Banner to be read and known by others. Allison said she was moved by stories she has heard from her grandmother who made her think about how lucky she was to be living in the United States. “This feeling propelled me through the whole essay writing process and became an important feature in it,” she said.
In the future, Allison wants to go into the business world, perhaps business management. She enjoys trying new things to broaden her horizons and test herself. After high school, she plans to go onto college, “and then enter the business world with certainty and confidence.”
Allison’s father is employed by General Electric where he designs gas turbines for modern day Coast Guard and Navy vessels. “It is so special for him that I have won an award that relates so closely to his livelihood,” Allison said.
The art contest winner, Cody Wroten, age 19, graduated on May 31 from Lansdowne High School in Baltimore. He left for an assignment in Florida before being notified that he had won the contest, and was unable to make arrangements to return to Baltimore in time for EAGLE’s arrival.
“I'm very sorry that I won’t be in Baltimore on June 14,” Cody said.
He is a self-described amateur artist, and while at Lansdowne High received a President Volunteer Award for his service to the school and the community.
His entry will be displayed later this summer at the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, along with the five other winning pieces of art from students who entered the contest in New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Boston and New London.
Cody entered the contest at the behest of his teacher, Rachel Valsing, the Visual Arts Chair at Lansdowne High School.
The contest, announced in February, invites high school students to submit original artwork and essays on themes related to the War of 1812, The Star-Spangled Banner, or the role of the Revenue Cutter Service (forerunner of the Coast Guard) in the War of 1812. One winner in each category wins a parade of sail trip on EAGLE during OpSail 2012, accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The national essay contest and art contest are sponsored by Operation Sail, Inc. in association with the USS Constitution Museum, the National Maritime Historical Society, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. The winning artwork from each port city will be displayed at the Constitution Museum in Boston later this summer.
NOTE TO EDITORS: the winning artwork and essay are available upon request.
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Media contact: William G. Armstrong Jr., Director of Communications, Operation Sail, Inc. / 203-904-8115 / email@example.com
About Operation Sail, Inc.
Operation Sail, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1961 with the endorsement of President John F. Kennedy. Backed by a Joint Congressional Resolution, its mission is to advance sail training and promote goodwill among nations. OpSail has produced five international sailing events in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, and 2000, each tied to a patriotic or historical event. OpSail 2012 is producing events in New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Baltimore, Boston and New London. For more information, visit www.opsail.org.