UPDATE: Students at Hixson High have been named the Vans Shoe Company Grand Prize winner in a shoe design contest sponsored by the sneaker company.

The nationwide Vans™ Custom Culture competition featured a pool of 500 entries, with the art program from Hixson taking the top honors and a prize of $75,000 dollars. The money will go toward art class improvements and additions.

Thursday, Students enjoyed an early break from classes, with performers and prizes. 

The students involved in decorating the shoes were Charlie Dickerson, Alia Smith, Michaela Roberts, Logan Summers, Addison Flannigan, Luke Pfennig, Jade Sharp, Amy Gonzales, Sarah Bargerstock, Josh Green, Tori Gifford, Jocelyn Salter, Suhani Patel, Amanda Lin and Devin Goforth. The teachers are Katie Claiborne and Lacey Jones.

Steve Van Doren, Van's vice president, presented the prize money, and praised the students for their energy and creativity.

The Hixson entry for "local flavor" featured the classic icons of Chattanooga, such as Rock City and Point Park.

PREVIOUS STORY: A team of students from Hixson High School has earned a spot in the Top 50 of the nationwide Vans™ Custom Culture competition. A panel of judges selected their work from a submission pool of 500 entries to continue to the public voting phase.

The entry itself is two pairs of Vans™ shoes. Vans™ sends out shoes to all the participants, requesting them to create designs fitting two separate prompts. This year’s themes are “Local Flavor” and “Off the Wall”.

For Local Flavor, the Hixson High students decided to highlight iconic sights and symbols of the Greater Chattanooga area. These shoes represent Ruby Falls, Rock City, the Incline Railway, the Choo Choo, Point Park, and cultural icons like the Delta Queen and the Cherokee water spider. The Tennessee River can also be seen coursing over both shoes, bringing them together.

In the Off the Wall design, students built platforms to create a cavern underneath. The cave is lit by fairy lights, making the cast resin crystals gleam. Mushrooms dot the subterranean landscape, and a monster defends his treasures. Moss encircles the trim of the shoes, providing a smooth transition from top to bottom. Living plants are placed inside the shoes, while artificial sprouts pop up near the toe.

Voting closes on May 4. Individuals can vote once per day by clicking here. The team at Hixson appreciates the readers’ support, whether through votes or sharing their story.

Hixson High students say they are needing supplies and equipment to help build existing programs: kiln repair and clay wheels for ceramics, easels and storage for painting and drawing. The students also suggested the need to create a digital art resource lab with computers, digital drawing tablets and digital cameras. 

Hiwassee Dam School in North Carolina is also in the competition.