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Students compete in USS Minnesota logo contest

ana anthony/daily globe Jonah Oberloh is shown with his USS Minnesota logo design.

WORTHINGTON --Students Jonah Oberloh and Vicky Phannara may not have won the USS Minnesota SSN 783 logo contest, but the pair is pleased with their achievement of making it into the top 10 finalists for the contest.

A logo design contest for the USS Minnesota Navy ship was organized from August through November of last year for students ages 16 to 22. In 2008, the U.S. Navy announced that Minnesota would once again be honored with a submarine named after it -- more than a century after the second USS Minnesota was commissioned in 1907.

"The real point of the contest was to raise awareness about the submarine and start building a connection between the crew and the state," said Cmdr. John Francher, who will be in charge of the vessel when it is commissioned in 2013.

Oberloh -- a high school senior -- explained that he had no intention of submitting a design for the contest until his graphics teacher, Gail Holinka, convinced him to do otherwise.

"I looked at the website and saw that there were not many submissions so I hopped on the boat and started trying," he added. "The basic design took about three days of work."

Themed "The Fish of the Seas," Oberloh's design included a balance of state and national symbols.

"I researched what other submarines' crests look like and a lot of them have a circular design," he said, explaining that he usually researches his design subject prior to working on it. "Since it is the USS Minnesota, I tried to give it a Minnesotan style. The walleye is the state fish and the eagle is the national bird."

Once he finalized his design, he spent some time "problem solving" the appearance of the logo using a crucial design program, Adobe Photoshop CS3.

"I was completely surprised about making the finals because I wasn't expecting to get anywhere with it," he said, "I'm very happy that two of our students made it."

Phannara, a beginner graphics student, designed her logo with an eagle flying over a submarine "as a sign that God is watching over them."

"I've also (added) the flag and the sun light because veterans serve for the USA and after years of serving, veterans can come home and live life freely under the beautiful sun," she explained in her statement.

The top 10 finalists will be acknowledged during the commissioning ceremony.

A total of 110 designs were submitted to the Minnesota Navy League. Francher explained that the submissions were judged in a "democratic" fashion -- where each crew member casted a vote.

"In general, if you look at all the submarines and ships of the navy named after a state, we look for things that have ties with the ship as well as some representation of the namesake," Francher said, explaining the judging criteria.

The winning logo was designed by Jacob Bartels, a home-schooler from Roseville. In addition to his logo being part of the ship's history, Bartels will receive a $1,500 college scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to the commissioning ceremony

The 10th Virginia-class submarine will be able to support special operations and accommodate 135 crew members.