Your vote could help Caledonia win $50,000 in sneaker design competition

Daniel McGonigle/The Caledonia Argus  Jenna Benzing, Erica Cruse, Katrina Paulson and Emma Craig designed shoes for the sneaker company Vans, as part of a contest that could win their school $50,000. Vote online to support the effort and help win money for Caledonia.
Daniel McGonigle/The Caledonia Argus
Jenna Benzing, Erica Cruse, Katrina Paulson and Emma Craig designed shoes for the sneaker company Vans, as part of a contest that could win their school $50,000. Vote online to support the effort and help win money for Caledonia.

By Daniel E. McGonigle

General Manager

The Caledonia Argus

Four students from Caledonia entered the “Vans Custom Culture” 2017 shoe design contest.

Three juniors, Katrina Paulson, Emma Craig, Erica Cruse and a freshman, Jenna Benzing, each designed a shoe in one of four categories.

Emma took art, Katrina was music, Erica designed ‘local flavor’ and as a last minute fill-in, while on the band and choir trip to Chicago no less, Jenna took sports.

“I chose action sports, surfing as my design,” Benzing said. “I made the tongue of the shoe look like a surfboard.”

Daniel McGonigle/The Caledonia Argus  The shoes designed by the students feature art, action sports, music and your community.
Daniel McGonigle/The Caledonia Argus
The shoes designed by the students feature art, action sports, music and your community.

The contest

The Vans shoe company sent four blank white shoes to the high schools that entered the competition.

“We get to keep the shoes,” said Craig. “So I’m rockin’ those things.”

The theme (one theme per pair) were determined by the company.

So art and music make sense to everyone. But the sports was meant to be action sports, like skateboarding, BMX, surfing, etc., and the ‘local flavor’ category is “all about your community” per the company. “Whatever inspires you, this is the shoe to incorporate those ideas.”

So Erica’s design was inspired by our landscape.

“I drew turkeys, deer, coyotes, things you find in our region,” said Cruse.

Katrina designed the music shoe.

On the tongue she painted a rainbow keyboard and along the sides is a heartbeat line with musical notes breaking up the line throughout the design.

Emma chose “flowers and eyes” for the art shoe for  a simple reason, “I like to draw those things.”

Once the students were done with their designs, principal Mary Morem, who helped enter the students in the contest, took photos and sent in the girls’ designs.

As is the case with many competitions these days, it is a web based vote for the winning shoe.

So you can help Caledonia’s budding shoe developers by going to vans.com/customculture. You have until May 10 to vote for the winning design.

The winning school will receive $50,000 for use in its art and music program.

Teams will be notified on May 11 of the winning results.

Katrina is the daughter of Mike and Kay Paulson, Emma is the daughter of Tim and Dawn Craig, Erica is the daughter of Tim and Kathy Cruse, and Jenna is the daughter of Blaine and Andrea Benzing.

Good luck girls! Remember vote often to help push Caledonia to the finish line!