G.E.T. art students competing for $50,000 - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

G.E.T. art students competing for $50,000


GALESVILLE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—Galesville Ettrick Trempealeau High School students were one of 1,500 school chosen, from across the country, to design four pairs of shoes, for the brand Vans, in hopes of winning money for their school's art department.

The top school from each of the five regions wins a trip to New York.  But, the grand prize is $50,000.

Art is a part of Ms. Jenny Johnson's soul.

She searched for ways to help her art students make it a part of theirs too when she found Van's Custom Culture Contest.

"It was like it was meant to be so I emailed them and requested to register," Johnson said.

Before they knew it, G-E-T got four pairs of shoes in the mail.

"These were all brand new Vans," Johnson said. "Pure white, intimidating white, to say the least nobody wanted to touch them."

So they got sketching on paper.

"It was a lot harder than you thought," Crystal Helmers, senior said.  "We'd be excited about one thing, then we would start to do it and it wouldn't work so we had to change it."

The shoes were a collaborative effort. 35 student's sketches were combined into these four pairs.

"I think it adds more to the shoes," Abbey Kopp, sophomore said.  "Because instead of just one person's idea, we have more than one person working together. You get so many more ideas and the shoes become so much more creative and original."

They got to practice painting on something other than the traditional canvas.

"The lines aren't smooth," Helmers said.  "So to get it perfect you have to go slow and it takes a lot of time and effort."

They learned to work as a team.

"You couldn't be afraid to express your ideas," Helmers said. "And if you didn't like something you had to say it because we want them to look really good."

Johnson said her kids also learned to pay attention to detail.

"Saying it's too messy or can you clean it up nice and smooth? We're trying to get really neat lines," Johnson said.

Just like the shoes brought the students together, they're hoping the community comes together to help them win the contest.

If they win the prize money, they'd like to buy a new kiln, for ceramics, and update their graphic design computers.

"By the quality of work I feel we could," Johnson said. "We're right up there with the best of them."

"Our school has 400 students, schools we're competing against have 2,000, so for us we call it a Cinderella story," Helmers said.

Only they're hoping their fairy tale ends with a trip to New York.

Students who painted the shoes are: Abbey Kopp, Crystal Helmers, Cedar McAllen, Trevor Dahl, James Vance, Haley Scherr, Leahany Hass and Lisa Zinke.

Click here to visit the Van's Custom Culture voting page.

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