Arlington Announces 2017-18 Decal Design Competition Winner

Published on January 31, 2017

  • Amy Kohan's "Arlington Sees Stars" wins

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

  • More than 3,200 votes cast

Amy Kohan, a 10th grader at Wakefield High School, is the winner of the 2017-18 Vehicle Decal Design Competition for her design, "Arlington Sees Stars," Treasurer Carla de la Pava announced today at the County Board meeting.

Kohan's design, which features a photograph of the David M. Brown Planetarium, will appear on more than 160,000 vehicles in Arlington County.  In her Decal Competition application, Kohan noted that, "As the only freestanding school planetarium open to the public in the metro area, it has over 20,000 students visiting every year."  Captain David M. Brown, a 1974 graduate of Yorktown High School, died on the Columbia space shuttle mission in 2003.  Kohan wrote, "The Planetarium has been helping to invest curiosity in the minds of kids and adults of all ages."

[caption id="attachment_11000" align="alignright" width="300"]Photo of planetarium. Arlington's 2017-2018 Vehicle Decal.[/caption]

Last October, the Arlington County Treasurer's Office invited high school students who reside or attend school in Arlington to submit a design for the 13th Annual Vehicle Decal Design Competition. In December, a Citizens' Panel convened to narrow the record-breaking 235 submissions to just four finalists.

The Treasurer's Office used Instant Runoff Voting for the second year to determine the winner.  Residents were asked to rank their selections in order of preference (first choice through fourth choice).  "It's hard to choose just one, so IRV allows voters to express a range of preference," said de la Pava.  During the six-week voting period, more than 3,200 Arlington residents voted.

Kohan 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:

  • Schuyler Workmaster, 10th Grader at Bishop O'Connell High School, for her design, "The Arlington House"

  • Sydney Machion, 9th Grader at Wakefield High School, for her design, "We Are Arlington"

  • Marjorie Henriquez, 11th Grader at Wakefield High School, for her design, "SkyRoss"


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 2002, residents were given the opportunity to vote on the decal image, and in 2005 the Treasurer's Office started the Decal Design Competition for Arlington high school students.

Press Contact: Stephanie Shea, 703-228-3807, or