Essay Contest for Local Students based on the flight of the “Vin Fiz”

share this:

First Transcontinental Flight essay contest for middle and high school studentsThe Committee to Commemorate the Centennial of the First Transcontinental Flight has announced an essay contest for middle and high school students interested in local history, writing and aviation.

Students are encouraged to write an essay based on the history of the flight of the “Vin Fiz” and how the event contributed to the history of aviation in Long Beach.

“The website – – offers a wealth of educational information that can be used by teachers and students in learning more about this historic event,” notes Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske. Schipske launched the committee that is commemorating the flight with events around the city, culminating in a dedication of a “Vin Fiz” replica and plaque on December 10th at the Long Beach Arena.

High school participants in the “We Can Soar” essay contest will compete for a $500 scholarship, while middle school competitors could win a flight on a private plane. Second and third place winners in all age groups will get a tour of the Long Beach Airport and an airport “goody-bag.”

Curt Castagna, President and CEO of the Aerolease and Aeroplex Group, is a member of the committee and the essay scholarship sponsor. “Long Beach has a rich aviation history, and the contest is a wonderful opportunity to teach our young people about its aviation roots and include them in the centennial celebration of this flight,” says Castagna. “In 1986 Aerolease hosted the 75th Anniversary celebration in Long Beach and we are grateful to be working on the 100th Anniversary events with Councilwoman Schipske.”

All entries must be received by December 2nd. For more information, call (562) 570-6932 or email


In 1903, the Wright brothers proved that man could fly. Just 8 years later, Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers proved that man could fly across the United States. This daredevil aviator, with only a few hours of training, got his pilot’s license and a Wright Brothers EX-1 airplane and set out on a flight from Sheepshead Bay, New York to Long Beach, California. Rodgers wanted to get a $50,000 prize offered by William Randolph Hearst for covering the distance in 30 days. He missed the deadline, because of weather and mechanical delays and 16 crashes. Cal Rodgers landed in Long Beach on December 10, 2011.

Contest Rules:

  1. All entries must include the theme “We Can Soar,” the history of the flight of the Vin Fiz in 1911 and how the event contributed to the history of aviation in Long Beach. Students are encouraged to access resources at:
  2. All entries must be done by students only.
  3. Each entry must be done by only one student.
  4. Contests are open to students enrolled in grades 6 -12 in a public or private school located in Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill or Avalon.
  5. Students will compete in the following divisions: 6 – 8th grade; 9 – 10th grade; and 11 – 12th grade.
  6. Essays may be typed, double-spaced (preferred) or hand written. Essays may be submitted two ways: 1) via email to: info@vinfizlongbeach.comor 2) via U.S. mail to: Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., 14th Floor, Long Beach, CA 90802.
  7. Essays must include the following information: your name, grade, one parent’s name, name of school, home address, contact telephone number.
  8. Essays will be judged on adherence to theme (50%), style (25%), and correctness of form (grammar, spelling, punctuation) (25%).
  9. Deadline: Must be received by December 2nd, 2011.
  10. Once received, entries will become and remain the property of the Long Beach Committee to Commemorate the Centennial of the First Transcontinental Flight.

Prizes will be awarded in each age division at the Transcontinental Flight Centennial celebration on December 10th.

Comments are closed.