Artistically-inclined Oklahoma students are competing to create a license plate meant to help fill the ever-present teacher gap.
Voting in the statewide License to Educate art contest is underway now that the Oklahoma State Department of Education has narrowed down its almost 800 entries to six finalists. The winning design will cost $35 and money raised from the sales will help fund teacher recruitment efforts at the state level.
“It originated from OSDE’s teacher shortage task force,” Communications Specialist Erin Jasmer said. “The agency then found legislative sponsors for the necessary bill.”
Kids submitted designs using various materials and had free reign to include whatever they wanted in their designs, so long as it tied back to supporting education in some way. The designs were judged on their creativity, aesthetic appeal and relevance to the topic at hand.
The finalists are Katelyn Branson from Summit Middle School in Edmond, Thomas Buchanan from Harrah Middle School in Newella, Dulandika Malalage and Kaleigh Buser from Stillwater High School in Stillwater, Kace Kimble from Stilwell High School in Bunch and Sarah Skaggs from Latta High School in Ada.
“This is a new contest,” Jasmer said. “The license plate was made possible through legislation passed earlier this year by state senator Stephanie Bice and Rep Ryan
Martinez.”
The public has until Oct. 20 to vote by visiting http://sde.ok.gov/sde/licensetoeducate. The winning design will be announced on Nov. 1,  and the specialty plate will be available for pre-order at tag agencies statewide.