NOAA 2006-R810
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2006
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A team of five students and their teacher from Sacred Heart School in Southaven, Miss., has won the “Name NOAA’s New Ship” contest with their entry of “Pisces” for the 208-foot fisheries survey vessel currently under construction in Mississippi, NOAA has announced.

Senator Thad Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said “It is exciting that the students in Southaven, Miss., won the contest to name the new NOAA vessel that will be constructed and homeported in our state of Mississippi. It is a great honor for them. They reflect great credit on our state.”

“Congratulations to Sacred Heart High in Southaven and especially to the seventh graders there who came up with the winning name for NOAA’s newest fisheries survey vessel,” said Senator Trent Lott (R-MS). “And this ship is very special because it’s Mississippi built, Mississippi homeported and Mississippi named. This contest has been a great experience for Mississippi students, and I hope it will encourage some budding marine scientists to pursue careers in this exciting field.”

The contest, created to encourage interest in scientific studies, was open to students in middle schools throughout Mississippi. Originally, the contest was to be open to all schools from kindergarten through high school in the Gulf states. However, it was delayed last year because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and later scaled down so contest deadlines could be met.

“The contest was designed to encourage students to learn more about NOAA and marine and coastal science in their region,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The school team produced an educational essay that supported their choice of ship name. They have played a part in NOAA’s history.”

The team of seventh grade students, led by science teacher Jeannine Foucault, includes Maddie Simmons, Molly Mohler, Chelsea Hensley, Sydney Hudsbeth, and Michael Grillo.

The members of the Sacred Heart team with the selected entry will be invited to attend the ship’s keel laying ceremony in Moss Point, Miss., on June 23. Additionally, Rear Admiral Samuel P. De Bow, Jr., director of NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, will visit the school and present it with a duplicate keel plate from the ship.

Pisces is the third of four new NOAA fisheries survey vessels under contract with VT Halter Marine Inc. in Moss Point, Miss. The first ship was delivered to NOAA last year and the second—which was also named through a student contest--will be delivered this summer. Pisces will be homeported in nearby Pascagoula, Miss.

NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations operates, manages and maintains the NOAA fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft. OMAO is composed of civilians and commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the nation’s seven uniformed services. NOAA Corps officers – all scientists or engineers – provide NOAA with an important blend of operational, management and technical skills that support NOAA’s mission at sea, in the air and ashore.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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