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A step in the right direction: LHS makes top fifty in this year’s Vans Custom Culture Competition

Vans announced the Top 50 high schools in the Vans Custom Culture art competition, and Lennox High School has advanced to the semi-finals. Beginning April 26th until May 10th, the Top 50 schools’ shoe designs will be displayed on the Custom Culture website for public vote.

Over 3,000 schools from across the nation have submitted their four customized Vans shoes embodying the Vans “Off the Wall” lifestyle: action sports, arts, music and local flavor. The shoes were then sent to Vans headquarters, where employees and an internal judging panel assisted in selecting the Top 50 schools.

Once the public vote is completed, the top five finalists will have the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, where their shoes will be displayed to a panel of celebrity judges. The overall winner will receive $50,000 and the four runner-up schools will receive $4,000, all going towards funding their school’s art programs.

Lennox High School art teacher Emily Maras says her students worked together to come up with these award winning entries (pictured at right).

Students in the LHS Art Club that participated in the contest include: Seniors Abby Abraham, Bailey Abraham and Jordan Kruse, along with junior classmates Ben Goeman, Jesse Schneiderman, Grace Kidd and Sarah Kroeger.

The design team created the four different designs by first working on concepts, bringing those together and editing and redesigning until they ended up with the finals. From there, the students determined who would sketch, who would paint and the real work began.

Maras said this is the fourth year that Lennox High School has participated in the Vans Custom Culture art competition and the first year they have made it to the top 50. She encouraged the public to vote every day to increase the school’s chances of making the top five. Voting is only open until May 10th.

The shoes are painted with acrylic paint, which Maras explains adds a challenge for the artists because it’s hard to get that smooth look. Currently, the Lennox High School Vans are on display at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls at a kiosk in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Maras hopes the additional exposure will garner more votes for the unique designs the LHS students have created.

Schneiderman, one of the students working on the project, said that the group is one big happy family. She said, “Ms. Maras doesn’t respond to anything but mom!”

Maras said watching the students come together to complete the project was fun. She said, “Doing the competition allows the kids to get to work together and learn to settle things professionally.”

Goeman, another artist involved on the project said he wants to encourage everyone to vote. He said, “Let’s fly to the top five!”

The public can vote once a day at

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