Wakefield High Schooler Wins Arlington's 2016-17 Decal Design Co

Published on January 28, 2016


  • Ryan Kovich's "Arlington is for enjoyment" chosen

  • Winning entry will be displayed on more than 160,000 vehicles

  • Instant Runoff Voting determined winner


Winning Decal DesignRyan Kovich, a Wakefield High School 10th grader, is the winner of Arlington's 2016-17 Decal Design Competition, Treasurer Carla de la Pava announced today.

Kovich's photo of the historic landmark, the Arlington Cinema "n' Drafthouse, will appear on more than 160,000 vehicles in Arlington County.

"This building has been entertaining Arlington residents since the 1930s," Kovich wrote in his Decal Competition application. "This picture represents Arlington because the arts are very important to the residents. The Cinema "n' Drafthouse also represents friendship and time spent together. Every time I see the aged building and the nostalgic sign, it reminds me of the moments I have spent there with family and friends." The drafthouse is located at the corner of South Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike.

About the competition


Last November, the Arlington County Treasurer's Office invited high school students who live in Arlington or attend school here to submit a design for the 12th Annual Vehicle Decal Design Competition. In December, a Citizens' Panel convened to narrow the 85 submissions to just four finalists.

This year, Arlington County residents were asked to rank their selections in order of preference (first choice through fourth choice). The Treasurer's Office then used Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) to determine the winner.

"I was excited to use Instant Runoff Voting this year for the Decal Competition.  It's hard to choose just one, so this allowed the voters to express a range of preference. The winning entry had a very clear majority from among the four finalists," de la Pava said.  "During the six-week voting period, more than 1,800 Arlington residents voted and Kovich's design came in first."

Kovich will receive a cash prize of $750, thanks to the generosity of the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union.  The three runners-up will each receive $500.

The other finalists were:

  • Gabrielle McKenna, 10th Grader at Washington-Lee High School, with her design, "Ed. Center"

  • Amelia Wilt, 12th Grader at Wakefield High School, with her design, "Dark Star Park"

  • Schuyler Workmaster, 9th Grader at Bishop O'Connell High School, with her design, "The Netherlands Carillon"


Background on Decals


Arlington began requiring local licensing of vehicles in 1949, which took the form of a metal tag attached to the license plate. The first windshield decal was issued in 1967; decals were first produced with a color image in 2000. In 2003, residents were given the opportunity to vote on the decal image, and in 2005 the Treasurer's Office started the Decal Design Competition for high school students.