USS Arizona Crest Competition winners announced

TEMPE — This month marked the conclusion of the USS Arizona Legacy Foundation’s Crest Competition. In keeping with Naval tradition, every ship has its own unique emblem, the ship’s crest, which serves as its official symbol throughout its service. This crest, similar to a coat of arms, is proudly displayed on the ship’s brow banner, visible to all who come aboard and go ashore.

The foundation received an overwhelming response, with over 165 unique submissions from high school students in grades 9-12 across the state. The selection process was challenging, considering simplicity, meaningful symbolism, use of color, and distinctiveness.

Ultimately, three crest designs were chosen as winners. These designs will now be sent to the Commanding Officer to inspire the official crest for the USS Arizona SSN-803.

  • First place: Elyse Hansen, 9th grade, Highland High School (Gilbert). “My ship crest design was based off of the first USS Arizona ship crest,” Hansen said. “For this design I wanted to keep it respectful in favor of the old USS Arizona and I also wanted it to have the feel of the original USS Arizona crest. I went through many different drafts to try and find the design I thought was best. After many hours and designs I finally came to the conclusion that this design was the best I could come up with in the time frame I had. To have the opportunity to work on the new USS Arizona ship crest was an amazing experience and I had a great time working on this design.”
  • Second place: Kaylee Gerhauser, 10th grade, Highland High School (Gilbert). “For my design, I researched significant symbols, mottos and colors of the state, wanting to highlight what makes Arizona unique in her own way,” Gerhauser said. “For example: I used the motto ‘Ditat Deus’ on the bottom arc of the crest, which means ‘God Enriches,’ as it is written around the Arizona state seal. As for colors, I stuck to the color palette of the State flag and highlighted it in my design. Additionally, I drew inspiration from the official United States Navy crests, creating a more cohesive design.”
  • Third place: Madison Deadmond, 12th grade, Safford High School. “I took inspiration for my design from a couple of aspects of Arizona,” Deadmond said. “The border around the design is a copper color because of its association with Arizona. The background is a sunset that resembles the Arizona flag. I added both the submarine and the ship as a kind of ‘passing the torch’ gesture.”

“Thank you to all who participated in the USS Arizona Crest Competition,” said Nicole LaSlavic, president and CEO of the USS Arizona Legacy Foundation. “Your creativity and dedication made this contest a success. We appreciate your contributions and look forward to honoring the legacy of the USS Arizona with your inspiring designs.”

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