Uni students are headed to New York as finalists in contest to customize Vans footwear


A couple weeks ago we told you about a pair of University High students who advanced to the semifinal round of the Vans Custom Culture art contest by designing their own custom Vans shoes.

Well, we just learned that Uni junior Aki Barbar and senior Katherine Wang have won their regional showdown, and that means they’ll be traveling to New York along with four other finalist teams for a big grand prize announcement.

How big? The winning team will earn $50,000 for its school’s art program, while the four runners-up will each be awarded $4,000 for their programs.

“We are so proud of the girls for creating such incredible pieces for the contest,” Uni Principal John Pehrson said this week. “We are also so thankful for all the fans that voted, both within the UHS community and across the county.”

Beginning in February, teams from 1,500 public and private high schools from throughout the U.S. had an opportunity to design up to four pairs of blank shoes to represent the themes of action sports, music, art or local flavor. The contest was billed as a way to promote creativity while drawing attention to the importance of art in schools.

Aki and Katherine went for it, and you can click on the image above to more closely inspect their custom kicks.

That entry placed them among 50 national semifinalists, and an online vote narrowed the field to five. The grand prize winner and runners-up are now set to be announced in N.Y.C. on June 11. Meanwhile, the Journeys apparel company also plans to issue a separate award of $10,000 for the school that produced the best “Local Flavor”-themed shoe.

Way to go, Aki and Katherine. We hope to have more good news to report next month.