By Scott McCaffrey Sun Gazette
Jeppe Callander may be back in Norway, but his year as an exchange student at Wakefield High School won’t soon be forgotten by the people of Arlington.
Why? Because, for the next year and more, Callander’s design of the Pentagon Memorial will be on tax decals gracing windshields of the more than 150,000 vehicles garaged in Arlington.
Treasurer Frank O’Leary said the new decal already is being distributed to those who are registering vehicles in Arlington for the first time. A mass mailing to those with existing vehicles will follow.
Callander’s decal design was among those chosen by a panel of community notables, who whittled student-submitted entries down to four finalists from a record 36 submissions. His design then was picked as the winner by the public in voting through the county government’s Web site and the Sun Gazette.
More than 2,000 votes were cast.
Callander was announced the winner at the Jan. 24 County Board meeting. It was the eighth year that student designs vied to be on the decal.
“I took the photo to show my mom how it looks,” Callander said then of his evocative image of the Pentagon Memorial. “It was a thank-you for always being there for me.”
In a first, all four finalists – Callander, Sarah Peterson, Amanda Smith and Maya Giacobbe – attended Wakefield High School and are students of photography teacher Jina Davidson.
Callander and Peterson each submitted designs featuring the Pentagon Memorial, while Smith’s design focused on the Air Force Memorial. Giacobbe, who won the competition in 2011, opted to submit a scene of the Arlington County Fair.
All four won $500 savings bonds, courtesy of Wells Fargo.
Beginning in 1949, the county government required metal strips to be attached to license plates, signifying payment of personal-property tax on vehicles. In 1967, the government shifted to windshield decals, which are affixed next to the state inspection sticker.
In 2002, the treasurer’s office began holding a community vote on the design, and three years later, limited entries to local high-school students.
The eight-year competition has featured four wins by students at Wakefield High School, with two victories by Yorktown High School students and one win each by students from Washington-Lee High School and the Arlington Career Center.
An exhibition of winning entries can be found on the second floor of the county government headquarters on Clarendon Boulevard.