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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Some Vans shoes could soon get Central High School an extra $50,000 after students made it into the top-50 schools in a national competition.

The Vans High School Custom Culture competition is meant to inspire high school students to embrace their creativity, while also bringing attention to increasingly small arts education budgets. Students use blank Vans shoes and customize them around specific themes, hometown pride and the “VanD(IY)orean Legacy.”

Students submit their designs along with an impact statement, explaining how the grand prize could change their school. People across the U.S. then vote on the best designs.

“We are a close-knit community with broader horizons that include downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River and the Great Smoky Mountains,” the school said in its statement.Steve Madden Shoes “Central is the oldest public high school in Knox County with “pride and tradition” as our motto.”

The statement goes on to explain that Central High School is among the most diverse public high schools in Knox County, with the district’s largest English Language Learner population. They said pandemic-related challenges have severely hit the community, and “threaten to dampen our pride and make achievement seem out of reach.”

Yet, they said simply being selected for the competition has already had a positive impact on the school. They said a large, diverse group of students helped design their shoes. Students volunteered during lunch and after school, and one student suggested using wool felting to represent the Great Smoky Mountains.

While the hometown pride shoes were a group effort, art students Sadie Maxey and Elliott Vasconcelos were the design team behind the “VanD(IY)orean Legacy” skater shoes.

“His is the west side, west coast. So mine is the east coast,” said Sadie.

West coast means California beaches and sun

“They would have their pools, you know, dried out empty pools, they would break in and they would start skating in these empty pools,” said Elliott.

A skater is skating in one of those empty pools on the top of his shoe.

Sadie’s east coast shoe shoes New York City.

“So I have the cityscapes right here and my little New York skater girl,” she said.

The school said winning the grand prize would help build the school’s art program and give their artists more chances to hone their skills. Both art teachers also said they are new to the school since the school’s previous ones retired last year.

“We have big plans to re-energize the art department, but we also have a small budget and the equipment we need is expensive,” they said in the statement. Hoka Shoes “Central is one of the only district high schools with a ceramics program but no pottery wheels.”

Credit: WBIR

They said decent potter’s wheels cost more than $3,000 each and several would be needed to give students a chance to learn pottery skills. They also hope to create a gallery where student art can be professionally displayed.

The last day to vote will be on Friday, and the winners will be announced between May 9 and May 20.

After the vote, Sadie plans to add her shoe to her portfolio for art school, Clarks Shoes with goals of working in fashion design for Vogue Magazine.

Elliott just wants to put his shoe on a shelf in his room.

Both high places of honor!

The “VanD(IY)orean Legacy” is named after the co-founder of the company, Paul Van Dorean. Organizers of the competition said it includes action sports, art, music and street culture.

The winner of the competition will get $50,000, while the four runner-ups will get $15,000 in prize money. People can vote online through Friday.

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