Carlsbad High snags $50,000 grand prize in Vans shoe design competition

Carlsbad High snags $50,000 grand prize in Vans shoe design competition
The winning designs in the 2015 Vans Custom Culture design competition, submitted by students from Carlsbad High School. (Vans)

A high school from the Golden State seemed to have the golden touch in this year's Vans Custom Culture design competition, with Carlsbad High taking home top honors -- not to mention a $50,000 donation to the school's arts education program and the opportunity for the students' winning designs to be featured on a shoe at retail.

The winners of the sixth annual competition were announced at a Tuesday night event at Industria Superstudios in New York City where a panel of judges (including actress Victoria Justice, celebrity baker Amirah Kassem, musician Bea Miller, artist and author Dallas Clayton and Vans professional surfer Joel Tudor) picked the winning looks from a field of five finalists.

The other four schools -- Circleville High of Circleville, Ohio; Foothill High of Henderson, Nev.; McCracken County High of Paducah, Ky.; and Parker High of Parker, S.D. -- each earned $4,000 for their arts programs.

Carlsbad school also managed to clean up in two additional side competitions, earning $10,000 in art funding from the Truth anti-smoking campaign for customizing a skate deck (the theme: imagining what it looks like when smoking is finished for good) and $15,000 from retailer Journeys for the display that best represented "local flavor."

This year's competition saw a record number of high schools participate -- nearly 3,000 in all -- by submitting designs for four pairs of  Vans shoes, themed around action sports, art, music and local flavor.

Although Cypress-based Vans is an action sports brand steeped in SoCal culture, Carlsbad High is the first California school to win the grand prize. Last year it went to New Mexico's Rio Rancho High (which also took top honors in 2012 and 2010), and in 2013 it went to students from Oregon's Lakeridge High School.

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