Once in a while, Cassie Baird would sketch on her shoes. The Largo High School Junior discovered recently she prefers painting on shoes.
"Painting is more expressive. It adds dimension and shows creativity on something we wear every day," Baird said.
Baird and three other students worked together as a team to design shoes as a part of the Vans Custom Culture art contest. The rest of the design team was sophomore Alexandra Pacheco, senior Jacqueline Renaud and sophomore Lauren Wallingford.
The Largo High School team competed with 999 other high schools around the country including Osceola Fundamental High School. Although no local schools made the finals, the experience was valuable for the students.
"The competition involved students collaborating like they would if they were hired on a design team. The contest gave them real world experience," said Fine Arts Department Chair, Lisa Bagley.
Each design team member was assigned a theme- action sports, music, art or local flavor. But the team had to tie the designs together. So gold flows through all of Largo's designs as well as a special glow-in-the-dark paint.
Sophomore Lauren Wallingford's fish shoes have eyes that glow in the dark. Her shoes followed the "local flavor" theme.
"I grew up in Clearwater Beach on the water. My grandma used to take me grouper fishing," Wallingford said. "It was fun working as a team. We had to create shoes that would flow."