Ponte Vedra students named winners in Notre Dame art contest


Two students from Ponte Vedra have been named winners in the University of Notre Dame’s first “Living Worlds Space Art Contest,” which aims to foster creativity while building on a foundation of astrobiology.

Victoria Joseph, a third grade student at Palmer Catholic Academy, won first place in the Grade 2-3 category for her artwork titled “Blobstin.” Lillian Massey, a Palmer kindergarten student, won second place for her drawing titled “The Butterfly Flower.”

Open to students from kindergarten through fifth grade, the contest asked students to imagine and depict the unusual forms of life that might inhabit other planets. The entrants from around the country also included written descriptions of their creature, specifically describing how it had adapted to conditions on its planet.

Organizers said the goal of the contest was to allow students to explore evolution, adaptation and the discovery of planets around other stars. To guide their students, teachers had access to learning materials on animals, space, planets and stars, including a Living Worlds sample lesson from the iLocater program at Notre Dame. An ultra-precise spectrometer being developed at Notre Dame, the iLocater will use infrared wavelengths to find new planets. It is expected to be operational in 2018.

First place contest winners received a $250 teacher cash card, a $75 student space swag bag and a classroom Skype session with Notre Dame iLocater scientists. Second place winners received a $150 teacher cash card and a $75 student space swag bag, while third place winners received a $100 teacher cash card and a $75 student space swag bag.