Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gov. Walker Announces Youth Writing Contest Winners

Props to a pair of young writers today whose essays won a statewide ferry-naming contest! Alaska statute mandates that our Alaska Marine Highway ferries be christened after one of the state’s 745 named glaciers. Nice work, Malea and Taylor! 

Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott Skyping with Malea and Taylor
JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott announced the names yesterday of Alaska’s two new ferry vessels. They thanked Tanalian School 7th grader Malea Voran of Port Alsworth and Eagle River High School 10th grader Taylor Thompson of Eagle River for the winning entries naming the Alaska Class ferries the Tazlina and the Hubbard. 

In January, the Governor called on Alaska students to submit essays on potential names for the vessels. The two ferries are being built at the Vigor Alaska shipyard in Ketchikan after the Alaska Legislature appropriated funding for the projects in 2009 and 2012. Upon completion in 2018, the ferries will provide day boat service between Juneau, Haines, and Skagway – also known as the North Lynn Canal region.

In all, 448 6th through 12th graders submitted essays to name the two new vessels.

“Benny Benson was 13 years old when he won the contest to design Alaska’s flag. Similarly, these students are leaving their mark on history by helping name the two most recent additions to our fleet of Alaska Marine Highway System vessels,” said Governor Walker. “I’m inspired by all the students who took the time to submit an essay, and I congratulate Malea and Taylor for their award-winning entries.”

In her essay, Malea Voran explained that Tazlina, an Ahtna Athabaskan name meaning “swift river,” is an appropriate name for a ferry, which should be named after something swift and agile. “This name would remind us that even small things are capable of doing big things. This small boat could be named after something big and inspiring,” Malea wrote.

Taylor Thompson wrote her essay on the Hubbard Glacier, which, unlike most glaciers, has been thickening and advancing into Disenchantment Bay for over a century. “This glorious slab of ice has defied its predisposition and proved to be a true wonder. An Alaskan ferry should be just as incredible,” Taylor wrote.

“Alaska’s ferry system plays a vital role in our economy and many coastal communities throughout the state,” said Lt. Governor Mallott. “It was an honor to read so many thoughtful, heartfelt essays from participants, and to include the voices of our young people in such a historic decision. These students’ ideas and vision for our state will forever be on display for future Alaskans who ride on the Tazlina and Hubbard ferries.”

Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott surprised the two students with the news their essays had won while Skyping into their classes today from Juneau. Upon completion of construction and approval by the Legislature, the two new Alaska Class ferries will officially be named the Tazlina and the Hubbard–with the winning essays framed and displayed on the respective vessels.

Links to the winning essays:






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