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Sachem East named semifinalist in $50G shoe design contest

Students at Sachem High School East designed shoes

Students at Sachem High School East designed shoes as part of the Vans Custom Culture competition. The school was named a semifinalist in the competition. Photo Credit: Handout

A group of students at Sachem High School East has been named semifinalists in a $50,000 national design competition for Vans shoes, and, to make it to the next level, they need the your vote. And quick.

Sachem is one of 10 schools in the Northeast region -- which includes 19 states stretching from Maine, south to West Virginia and as far west as Wisconsin -- and the only school on Long Island to be named a semifinalist in the Vans Custom Culture competition.

Online voting for the top school in each of the competition’s five regions ends on May 3. The artists from those schools will head to Los Angeles on May 30 for the final judging.

About 1,000 schools across the country submitted designs, according to Vans.

Lauren M. Lewonka, one of the art teachers who supervised the project at Sachem, said students in all the school’s art classes were invited to participate. She and two other art teachers, Douglas Kelsch and Ellen Sneider, picked out a few of the submissions, then made suggestions on how to modify their designs. Some were combined.

Then a group of students “worked for days” on painting the sneakers by hand.

“The students did all the work,” she said.

Long Island has a good track record in the competition. Last year, students at Ward Melville High School won.

The students involved in the project included Brendan Saxe Daniela Chrysafi, James Cordella, Nicole Cortese, Connor Dillon, Pete Groffman, Jillian Franco, Rachel Martin, Kaitlin Mink, Alissa Naer, Lisa Pastore, Mike Riley, Dylan Russ, Holley Russ, Kristin Sabatino, Daria Tikhonova.

To vote for Sachem, visit the Vans website and select Sachem High School East.  

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