NEWTON GROVE — Inside Hobbton High School’s art room, Alfonza Hooper paid $5 for a sporty black shirt with Wildcat paws.
“I wanted to to get a T-shirt becuase I believe in supporting different clubs at Hobbton High School,” said Hooper, head basketball coach at the school. “We have some good, artistic kids here.”
The artist, Haley Westbrook, was nearby watching as her work was purchased.The senior’s design took the top spot for a T-shirt contest sponsored by the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC). Her work was first out of about 100 submissions.After her design was submitted online, it received the most votes. The school received the T-shirts at the end of April.
“It was cool and really encouraging, becuase it showed that people appreciate my artwork and they like it enough to go online and vote on the weekends when they didn’t have to do it.”
For Westbrook, it was really an interesting experience becuase she made art to represent her school and it was fun designing a T-shirt. Graphic design is something she would like to study after college.
“You can take and do pretty much anything with art,” she said about being an artist. “You can be angry, in love or anything and use art in different ways to express yourself.”
Art Teacher Jennifer Jackson said Westbrook, who went above and beyond to help her school and art peers. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the school’s art program.
“That’s says a lot about a person when they want to help,” Jackson said about her student.
A group of arts students at HHS recently competed in the Vans Custom Culture shoe design contest. According to the company, the nationwide competition was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art art and design. Another purpose was to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets.
During the nationwide contest, students designed four pairs of blank shoes around four themes: art, music, action sports and local flavor.
For the local flavor portion, sophomore Jarret Young joined Caleb McLaurin to design a pair of shoes featuring a small town on one side and a big city — to represent the closeness Raleigh — on the other.
“It was fun,” Young said. “I think the hardest part was coming up with ideas that actually had something to do with the area.”
The shoe featured a quote from Bob Dylan, “I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be, and so I’m on my way home.
It represented that the students are from a small town, but they have have dreams to go to a big city to become artists.
Armando Alonzo, a junior, designed action sports with the assistance of sophomore Celine Marrison. They mixed their ideas together to come up with the art. Some of the features included a park, skaters and a sunlit sky in different parts of the day.
“It allowed us to show off our creativity,” Marrison said. “We all helped each other with our shoes.”
Westbrook, a senior, created sea life into a design for the music category. Sea creatures played instruments in the water. Haley said making the design with watercolors was a little challenging.
Norma Vallejo, a sophomore, was challenged to come up with a multicolored design and coming up with colors people liked to wear.
“Overall, I liked it and I think I would do it again,” Vallejo said.
At first, it was a project which seemed impossible after drawing the concepts on paper.
The winner of the grand prize will receive $50,000 for their high school art program and an opportunity to have their designs sold in retail stores. Runners-up will receive $4,000 for their schools.
Jackson said the students did not make it through the first round, but she was still proud of their work. “But they did a really good job,” she attested.
Jackson said the shoe project says a lot about the work ethic of the students. Most of the work was complete outside of school.
“They really stood up for Hobbton art this year,” Jackson said.
“Even though we didn’t win, we could say that we designed shoes,” Young said.
A video related to the school’s shoe project is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxTydVbcO5Q
tops poster contest
Abner Acosta, a senior, received second place for a poster contest for the Sampson County Alumni Chapter of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
“It was a great experience,” he said about his work which featured Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For Acosta, it was fun competing to see who would win the contest. His classmate Caleb McLaurin received first place in the local contest for Black History Month.
It took the student about two weeks to complete the inspirational work. Like other students, he enjoys art. Some of his favorite aspects include sketching a drawing.
After high school, Acosta would like to study game designing in an art school.