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LHS a finalist in nationwide shoe design competition
Winner to be announced next week
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Kristen Pontius (Art Instructor), Ali Leiker, Corrie Upson, Harly Donovan, MaKayla Leiker, Ryan Powell, Riki Young, Alex Barger, Ruthie Webster, Paxton Wagner, Aleesha Moeder, Kyle Naugle, Lakota Werner. Students not shown in photo who also helped: Faith Johnson and Jasmine Ederi. - photo by PHOTO COURTESY OF JUSTIN SPERRY

Vans Inspires LHS

Does a small town in Middle America possess any young artistic talent? We would say yes, because even though we are a small town full of farmers and ranchers, we can perform in band or choir, and play sports, but also we have the chance to express ourselves through artwork. We, the students of LHS, would like the chance to tell Vans what art means to us and how winning this contest could improve our well-being.

Larned High School is a low income school. In fact, 51% of our students have free or reduced lunch. At LHS, we aren’t a rich or a huge school, but we make due with what we have. To improve the art program of LHS, first, we would use the money to improve the poorly regulated heat and air in the art room. We are in the back side of the building, and it gets very cold some days. We would also like to get new brushes, because the ones we use are old and the bristles are hard from too much use. Our computers are very small and difficult to use for graphic design. To improve this problem, we can use the money to buy new and bigger computer monitors. More space in the art room would allow for more students to take art. The most the room can hold is twenty- two. We don’t have the space for anymore than that. We only have 10 drawing tablets for graphic design, and if we all need one, we have to wait for someone to finish his or her project. The tables we currently have are small and close to the ground. If we get the money we can buy new, taller tables that will turn into easels for painting and drawing.

We have a small classroom with limited shelving space for our artwork. We have two people to a shelf currently, and we can’t differentiate our artwork. If we get more space, then we can have more cabinets for supplies that we use. We put supplies wherever we can find room, which happens to be in a corner in the back of the room. Also, we do not have the best lighting in the room. To improve the lighting, we could use the money to add more lights, so we can better see what we are doing.

If we win, these are the supplies and furniture that we would purchase which will attract more students in the LHS art program. Then, the school and community will increase their support of the art program and take pride in our accomplishments. If we had an updated room, then we could bring the community into our creative center and be proud of it. A stronger art program will allow the students of LHS more freedom of expression within themselves and others.

 COSTA MESA, Calif. — Larned High School has made it to the Top 5 in a national competition that had art students painting designs on Vans brand footwear. As finalists in the ninth annual Vans Custom Culture art competition, LHS students are in the running to win either $10,000 or $75,000 for their school’s art program.
Vans will select the grand prize-winning school during the week of May 14, with the help of a public vote on the website customculture.vans.com.
“This has been an awesome way to start my first year teaching art,” said LHS instructor Kristen Pontius. “The excitement booming through the hallways after (Monday’s) announcement that we are in the Top 5 was exhilarating. Students are proud of their little community and how we all came together in the voting process. It has been heartwarming to have all of this support towards the arts program.”
The top five finalists competing for the $75,000 grand prize include: Fontainebleu High School in Mandeville, La.; Hixon High School in Hixson, Tenn.; Middle Township High School at Cape May Courthouse, N.J., Moanalua High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Larned High School.
“The top five finalists for this year’s competition truly captured the essence of what Vans is all about — creative expression,” said Megan Klempa, custom culture program manager. “Thanks to communities across the countries, we’re able to give even more funding to these talented students and push their talents and capabilities even further.”
The 2018 grand prize winner will receive a visit from Vans and a lunchtime party at their school, filled with activities and music. At the celebration, Vans will present the winning school with a check for $75,000 toward future arts education programs. The four runners-up will all receive a special, limited-edition Vans gift and $10,000 toward their schools’ art programs.
Vans Custom Culture focus on school with cuts to arts education
With this year’s new competition format of focusing on high schools who’ve had their arts education funding cut, Vans selected 500 eligible schools out of the 2,000 registered schools to compete.
The 500 qualifying schools were asked to design two pairs of blank Vans shoes for the themes of “Local Flavor” and “Off The Wall.” The high schools were also assigned to submit an impact document describing how their school, class and community would be impacted by the winning prize. Based on the criteria of creativity, relevance and overall execution, the Vans team selected this year’s top 50. With the public’s help in voting for their favorite design, they have helped select the final five finalists.
“After being accepted from the initial application, all students in the school were encouraged to submit shoe designs, Pontius told the Great Bend Tribune. “We then displayed all of the shoe designs in the hallways and held a school-wide vote for each of the categories, Local Flavor and Off the Wall. Ruthie Webster’s sunset and water tower design won for the Local Flavor category and Harly Donovan’s mermaid design won for the Off the Wall category. These students began putting their designs on actual Vans shoes, provided to us by Vans along with an art supply pack. Additional students helped during the design and application process and also wrote the impact document.”

About Vans
Vans, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is an action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans authentic collections are sold globally in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans also owns and operates more than 600 retail locations around the world. The Vans brand promotes the action sports lifestyle, youth culture and creative self-expression through the support of athletes, musicians and artists and through progressive events and platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and Vans Custom Culture.