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Winners Selected for Student Space Shuttle Art Competition
Drawing of a space shuttle launching from Earth

Rachel Eckert's "Limitless Innovation from Exploration" was the first place winner for the middle school division of the Because It Flew art competition. Image Credit: NASA/USA Today

Middle and high school students from across the United States commemorated the Space Shuttle Program's 30-year legacy by creating unique artwork illustrating the shuttle's accomplishments in space and on Earth. Each piece of artwork submitted for the Because It Flew space shuttle art competition was accompanied by a 250-word essay describing how the shuttle ignited new scientific discoveries and technological advances. Many of the winning submissions show the space shuttle breaking through the confines of Earth and moving toward new frontiers, displaying far-off planets and galaxies in original ways.

Because it Flew was a collaboration between NASA's Teaching From Space Office, the National Institute for Aerospace and USA TODAY Education. The competition was supplemented by online educational activities that use space shuttle and other NASA resources to teach students about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

"Teaching From Space was excited to offer students an opportunity to combine STEM and art," said Cindy McArthur, Teaching From Space project manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "Their artwork and essays commemorate the Space Shuttle Program's legacy in a unique and creative way."

Artwork hanging on a wall

Shiloh Schatzkamer won first place in the high school division with her entry "Because It Flew." Image Credit: NASA/USA Today

A panel of expert judges evaluated student submissions. The top six entries in two age brackets (9 to 13 and 14 to 17) will receive prizes that include cash, a private tutoring session with USA Today graphic artist Robert Ahrens and a certificate of accomplishment. The winning artwork also will be showcased as banners on usatoday.com and usatodayeducation.com.

The first place winner for the middle school bracket was Rachel Eckert for her entry, "Limitless Innovation from Exploration." Second place in this category was awarded to Damaris Hunger for "Sea Rocket," and third place was awarded to Ryan Witt for "The Space Shuttle Discovery Led America to Greatness."

In the high school bracket, first place was awarded to Shiloh Schatzkamer for her entry, "Because It Flew." Second place was given to Lilian Peng for "Limitless," and third place was bestowed on Zedan Rong for her entry, "Daring to Dream."

Winning artwork and accompanying essays may be viewed on the Because It Flew website at http://www.usatodayeducate.com/becauseitflew.

Rachel Kraft/NASA's Johnson Space Center Public Affairs Office