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Belgrade art club students kick up their heels for national competition

Published On: May 01 2013 07:17:38 PM MDT   Updated On: May 01 2013 08:58:07 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

A group of Belgrade Art Club students need your help to take the national stage in New York. Their unique styles have kicked them into the semi-finals of the Vans Shoes Custom Culture Challenge.

Belgrade High art club student Dejianna Wilkinson proudly displays her and fellow members' uniquely designed shoes, designs they hope to see in stores one day.

"It's a really cool idea to me that we could potentially, actually have these shoes going around. You could go to the mall and see four different people wearing the shoes that you designed, you created," says Wilkinson.

"People will get to see our art, even though we're just little high schoolers from Belgrade, Montana," agrees art club member Adara Dugan.

It's not out of the realm of possibility if they win the Vans Custom Culture Challenge.

"How cool is that there are these completely blank shoes that they're going to send you and you have the freedom to create whatever you want?!" exclaims Wilkinson.

Their art teacher Frank Jacques threw out the idea.

"At first, it was, 'sure, let's do this because it's fun,' and then it turned into something absolutely awesome," explains Dugan.

The team of eight put in close to fifty hours coming up with ideas and drawing designs. It paid off. They're one of 50 teams out of 1,500 to make it to the finals, but it wasn't easy.

"We didn't have pens, so we had to wait until we got them from Bozeman at the bookstore. It was like one thing after another," says art club member Shayne Goulet.

They even had to start from scratch on a pair of shoes, just three days before deadline.

"We sent the pictures in the last possible day," says Goulet.

Students designed shoes in four different categories -- art, music, board sports and local flavor.

"I was at the fly shop and I saw a red fox tail and I thought, how cool would that be to have a red fox shoe?" explains art club member Raechel Haverstick.

But for folks like Haverstick and her classmates, it's not just about seeing their designs make it big. Vans also awards $50,000 to the winning team's art program.

"Art gets overlooked a lot in schools and I think it's really important. It was a major outlet for me on an individual level and I think that other kids should have the opportunity to find themselves through art, as well," says Wilkinson.

Haverstick calls art club her baby and says it's the one real place where she can enjoy art at school.

"It's not just us benefiting from it, it's generations of people like us and just the art program in general because there are a lot of things that we're not doing because we don't have the funds," explains Haverstick.

Currently, the Belgrade Art Team is sixth out of ten schools in the northwest region and need your vote to make it to New York.

To cast your vote for the team, click here.