The winner of the Stuck At Prom Scholarship Contest will receive a $10,000 scholarship.
A lot of high schoolers look forward to prom but not many can say that they've created their own outfit for the big day. High schoolers across North America have been given the chance to win US$10,000 if they can make a prom tuxedo or dress entirely out of duct tape. It’s called the Stuck At Prom Scholarship Contest, set up by Duck Brand duct tape. CTV News spoke to one student on how she prepared for the competition. Grade 9 student Erika Avellaneda is one of the 5 finalists, beating 102 other dresses. Her dress is inspired by styles and colors of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt and is made of roughly $100 worth of duct tape, 17 rolls, and it weighs about six pounds. Erika took about three-and-a-half months to make her art come to life. “I’m also pretty happy that I now get to have the dress and get to wear it,” said Erika. “It's something that I get to have and tell people about. It’s definitely a cool thing to talk about.”
Gr 9 Erika Avellaneda made this stunning prom dress out of 17 rolls of duct tape, for a chance to win scholarship money. Hear how she did it on 91.5fm CBC LISTEN App https://t.co/elsZEblOEA pic.twitter.com/mCovIJAH6c— CBCOttawaMorning (@OttawaMorning) July 7, 2021
“It’s not like your average scholarship where you have to write essays, so I thought it would be super fun,” shared Erika. “I worked for about 143 hours. Some days, I worked five hours, other days one or two,” says Avellaneda. “It was a hard process. A lot of sitting down and working, but it was worth it.” Erika's sister Claudia chimed in, “I think it's incredible. I’m completely obsessed with it. Erika is a little shy, but she’s so creative. This is kind of like her way of speaking out and showing all the incredible designs that are in her head. I’m so proud of her,” said Claudia. “Everything I do is for Erika. She is such a queen. I’m so proud of her and she's only 15 years old. A lot of the other finalists are in their senior year in high school.” Erika’s mom Annette Dillon added that art and design come naturally to Erika, “I think the dress is stunning. I think it's a real masterpiece,” said Dillon. “Erika has always liked the idea of castles, ballroom dancing. For me, it gave a child the chance to get out of her head—you know, the worries of the pandemic and school and not completing your courses—and do something physical with her hands. So I think that was a huge benefit.”
Richmond teen Giles Ferrell came up with a dress inspired by the spray-painted Robert E. Lee Statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond after protests last year, reports WSLS. “Whenever an artist makes something, it is putting a piece of themselves out into the world. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. So, it’s really exciting that this one worked,”
Ferrell added that the dress embodies the clash of old ways and new ideas. “A dress is not only a representation of themselves but the time that they are living in. I suppose it was a way for me to make sense of everything that was happening,” Ferrell said. “I wanted to look at things with a lens of beauty and find ways that things could be beautiful.”
Meihuan Yu is embracing her art and culture with the world through her prom dress. Instead of a single gown, she came up with several distinct pieces, including a skirt, top, corset, collar, purse, headdress, and boots. Each piece has detailed patterns and imagery in multiple colors like yellow, gold, blue, and white. Her prom dress was inspired by Chinese performance art and opera. "My design process was totally inspired by my culture," she said. According to CBC, the young student also incorporated elements of armor, like a duct-tape chest plate and shoulder pieces, to highlight the bravery of front-line workers during the pandemic. "I wanted to dedicate my dress to them," she said.