Southeast Alaska High School is a Finalist in the National Vans Design Competition

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WRANGELL, Alaska (KTUU) — That’s a big accomplishment for a small town in Southeast Alaska — and some nice kicks to boot. Wrangell High School placed in the top five in the National Brand Shoe Contest.

The Vans High School Custom Culture competition recognizes the top five participating high schools for their arts programs to bring attention to the ephemeral budgets of arts education. The competition: design two pairs of shoes on the theme “Hometown Pride”.

Wrangell’s music and art teacher, Tasha Morse, decided to enter the contest after seeing her students’ enthusiasm for it. Morse admitted that she didn’t think anything would really come of it after submitting the application.

“These things don’t happen in small towns,” Morse said.

Morse managed to prove herself wrong, first when the high school was announced as a top 50, and again on Monday when she received an email from the national shoe brand informing her that she had been selected as a finalist.

The high school submitted a pair of red vans with a Tlingit-inspired totemic design – lined with real marten fur that a student had trapped and dressed – as well as a pair painted to represent the southeastern part of the landscape of the school. ‘State.

“The whole class was talking like, ‘What should these shoes be like? What are, you know, what are our landmarks in Wrangell? What makes it special to live here?'” Morse said. my whiteboard was full of all their ideas,”

From there, a small group of art students narrowed down the ideas to what eventually became the two pairs the high school submitted for the competition. The winner will be announced during the week of May 16 and will receive a grand prize of $50,000. Each finalist will also receive $15,000 each, which Morse says is already a big win for the little school.

“I’ll be happy with fifth place, like, it’s phenomenal,” Morse said. “It’s more than I ever thought. … It’s completely surreal.

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