LOWER TOWNSHIP — Lower Cape May Regional High School hopes the community will help propel their students’ shoe designs into the top five in the Vans Custom Culture contest.
“This competition means the world to my students,” said Lower Cape art teacher Carly Crisanti. “Having a high profile ‘cool’ company like Vans not only recognizes the importance of what we do, but encourages it, it’s so wonderful. Students come to me every year to ask me questions about the contest Vans, looking forward to participating.
This is the second year in a row that the school has been among the top 50 in the competition. He hopes the community will rally behind his students and their design, voting for them before the May 6 deadline to become one of 250 schools competing for a top prize of $50,000.
Lower Cape says he would like to use the money, if he were to earn it, to buy additional supplies and technology, like printers and tablets. These, school officials said, would help the art program expand its offerings to include digital art activities, exposing students to 21st-century art like animation and graphic design. .
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“It’s an opportunity to create a team of artists who come together for one purpose,” said Mya Salasin. “We make these shoes every year and collaborate. Earning money would mean so much to our little school and help us expand our art program.
Vans challenged schools in this year’s contest to honor Paul Van Doren, the company’s co-founder, with their designs. The design represents action sports, art, music and street culture, Lower Cape said.
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Their submission featured a pair of shoes with different colors and designs. One, with black and white checkered paint, is used as the backbone of a skateboard ramp. The other is a multicolored shoe, with flowers painted on it, resting on a wave to symbolize surfing.
Being in a coastal community also gave the students an idea of the competition’s bonus challenge.
The students, some of whom are not art students, have chosen to help their local environment by cleaning up a beach. Using collected trash, such as bottle caps, cardboard and paper, they assembled an Atlantic horseshoe crab.
“This year, the interest extended beyond just the students enrolled in my class,” Crisanti said. “One of our big contributors this year is not an art student, but a cooking student. That’s what this competition does; it pushes students to embrace their creativity.
Horseshoe crabs, often found by Jersey Shore locals and visitors in the summer, have been subjected to overfishing and environmental stressors. They are often found dead on the sand, having been rolled over onto their shells and unable to correct themselves, Lower Cape said.
The students wanted to clean up their local beaches while raising awareness in non-coastal communities across the country.
“I really care about taking care of our planet and our environment, so I loved the sustainability bonus challenge,” said senior Isabella Menzano. “I went to the beach and picked up trash and debris for us to use in our construction. We used these supplies to turn our Hometown Pride shoes into a horseshoe crab.
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