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Ward Melville art students win $50G

Ward Melville High School at 380 Old Town

Ward Melville High School at 380 Old Town Rd. in East Setauket. (May 7, 2011) Credit: Jasmin Frankel

A team of artists from Ward Melville High School in Setauket has won first place in a national competition — and a prize of $50,000 for the school’s art department.

The six 11th- and 12th-graders worked as a team to create designs on four pairs of sneakers in the Vans Custom Culture Contest. Vans donated the sneakers to 400 participating schools throughout the country.

The competition called for the students to present art, music, sport and street culture fashion on the shoes.

Ward Melville art teacher Jim Swierupski said the students on the team were chosen “because they had different talents of art. Some were good at painting. Others were good at illustrations and sewing.”

The students first sketched their designs, then used a variety of media to transfer the designs to the sneakers.

The Ward Melville team was one of 10 regional winners before being chosen as the national winner by a panel of judges June 2.

The students on the team were Robin Caselli, Elizabeth Serdock Porto, Omar Field Rahman, Holly Manz, Kerrilyn Mc Donald and Mary Kate Anselmini.

The $50,000 is “going to change the entire art department,” Swierupski said. “There are things in the department which need upgrading.”

“It's a wonderful example of what true teamwork can accomplish,” said department chairwoman Jennifer Trettner. “When a team works together, anything is possible.”

Pictured above: Ward Melville High School at 380 Old Town Rd. in East Setauket. (May 7, 2011)

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