Vans contest entry in top 5; art program guaranteed $15,000

Wrangell High School's art program is closer than ever to a $50,000 prize.

Teacher Tasha Morse was notified on Monday that the shoes her class entered in the Vans Custom Culture art contest had won a spot in the national top five. Being in the top five schools, Wrangell is guaranteed at least a $15,000 prize. The $50,000 grand prize winner will be announced Friday.

Morse said she received an email Monday morning which read, "We will be announcing one school each day this week that is included in the top five schools on our Instagram account (@vanscustomculture)."

The email was a welcome sight for Morse, who said it made her "stupid excited."

She was able to share the news with some juniors and seniors, but the rest of the students were in testing and wouldn't be notified until later.

The students' entry of two pairs of Vans canvas shoes depicted scenes of Wrangell on one pair and Tlingit form line art and fur cuffs on the other. Though the shoes could be turned into complete works of art, Morse's students who worked on the project wanted to keep them wearable.

Wrangell was one of the schools initially picked by the clothing company as part of the 250 first cut of entries. That was narrowed down to 50, which then was open to public voting. Students and staff and members of the community were encouraged to share the voting link on social media. Those efforts were enough to win Wrangell a spot in the final five.

The final five will be ranked by judges for Vans, not social media voting as the last round.


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