CARLSBAD — Four pairs of shoes and a skateboard deck netted Carlsbad High School $75,000 for the school’s art program.
Vans holds a nationwide competition every year asking public high schools to customize four pairs of Vans sneakers.
Each pair must reflect a theme, including arts, action sports, music and local flavor.
Carlsbad High School students won three different categories on June 9, totaling $75,000.
“The best part was them calling our name three different times for an award,” CHS Art Teacher Kelly Foulk said.
A little more than 20 students from Carlsbad High School went to New York with six chaperones to receive the award.
Five schools in different regions of the U.S. were chosen for an all expenses paid trip to New York.
Foulk said the funds are sorely needed.
The art budget usually hovers around $2,500 annually, which is difficult because once the art supplies are used, they’re gone.
“Art is always underfunded mostly because our supplies are expensive and they disappear. The pencil gets used up and we don’t have it anymore,” Foulk said.
She said she’d like to share some of the grant money with other art departments.
“I’d love to make sure that every art teacher in our district has what they need,” Foulk said.
She’d also like to partner with other departments to do a creative project.
CHS won $10,000 from anti-smoking campaign Truth for their work on a skate board deck.
The top 10 schools in the U.S. were given a blank deck and asked to paint what it would look like if no teens smoked.
Journey gave CHS $15,000 for their Local Flavor submission. Students painted a California bear all over one pair of the Vans shoes.
Finally, Vans awarded them with $50,000 for the four pairs of shoes.
Foulk said the project took lots of hard work. Sometimes the students stayed after school until as late as 7 p.m.
She said they discussed each theme in depth twice a week during lunch and students brought in different designs that were decided upon together.
Many of the students have considered art as a career path.
Laguna College of Art and Design gave one student from each of the five schools a $25,000 scholarship.
Last year, CHS was chosen as a finalist and students were flown out for the award ceremony.
They didn’t take a prize home.
Since they won this year, CHS students won’t be eligible to enter for the next two years.
Foulk said she’s o.k. with that.
“It’ll be nice to take a little time off and focus on teaching,” Foulk laughed.
Students went to New York during finals week and some, unfortunately got stuck in Chicago. They missed their graduation ceremony although Foulk said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“It was definitely all worth while to see how happy the majority of the kids were seeing such awesome success at such a young age,” Foulk said.
Carlsbad Unified School District Superintended Dr. Suzette Lovely said she was impressed with the students and Foulk.
“We are impressed by the talent of these remarkable young artists,” said Lovely. “They couldn’t have gone all the way without the votes of a supportive community and the leadership of CHS Art teacher Kelly Foulk.”
Part of the competition included a public voting period online.