Newalla youth places second in nation in art contest.

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission on Thursday officially recognized Newalla third grader Thomas Buchanan for finishing second in the 2013 National Aviation Art Contest. He is the first Oklahoman to place at the national level since 1994.

Buchanan, who attends Clara Reynolds Elementary School in Harrah, recently won first place in Oklahoma’s Aviation Art Contest in the Junior category (ages 6-9) and advanced to nationals along with eight other young artists from Oklahoma. He was the lone Oklahoman to place at the national level.

Buchanan, who is the son of Clay and Jaretta Buchanan of Newalla, has been a regular in Oklahoma’s aviation art contest over the past four years, taking first place in 2012 and 2011 and finishing in second place in 2010.

“With Oklahoma not having a student place at nationals in almost 20 years, it clearly shows just how wonderful a job Thomas did on his artwork this year,” Director of Aeronautics Victor Bird said. “He has a bright future ahead of him, and let’s hope this contest will be a catalyst for him and other participants to choose aviation as a career choice because our state’s aerospace industry must continue to grow and prosper.”

The contest, sanctioned by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and National Aeronautics Association and managed by the National Association of State Aviation Officials, is designed to motivate and encourage young people of FAI-member nations to become familiar with and participate in aeronautics, engineering and science. This year’s contest theme was “My Favorite Air Sport.”

According to NASAO, 84 entries from 28 states were received for this year’s national contest. In addition, nearly 5,000 students submitted their artwork in state-level contests throughout the U.S.