Erika's dress needed 17 rolls of duct tape and 143 hours to make. "But it was worth it," she said.
After several hours of hard work and plenty of duct tape rolls, high school students in North America are now showing off the fruits of their labor to win the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest. Making one-of-a-kind dresses and tuxedos out of Duck Brand Duct Tape, the students entered the contest to win $20,000 in cash scholarships that the contest is giving away. "It’s not like your average scholarship where you have to write essays, so I thought it would be super fun," said Erika Avellaneda, who made it as a finalist in the contest.
Her eye-catching dress beat 102 other dresses and is now among the finalists, waiting for the contest's results. Weighing about six pounds, Erika's dress needed 17 rolls of duct tape that was worth around $100. And for inspiration, Erika turned to the styles and colors of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt to design the spectacular dress. "I worked for about 143 hours. Some days, I worked five hours, other days one or two," Erika told CTV News. “It was a hard process. A lot of sitting down and working, but it was worth it."
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
Erika's sister, Claudia, is amazed by her sister's creation and said, "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." The teenager's mother, Annette Dillon, also said, "I think the dress is stunning. I think it's a real masterpiece."
Another student, Meihuan Yu, also took part in the unique contest. She spent 186 Hours and 23 rolls of tape to design her dress, which was inspired by her Chinese culture. Meihuan is also a finalist in the contest and told As It Happens, "They told me the good news and I was super excited because that meant people in my community and outside can see my art, and I was really happy for that," according to CBC.
Along with taking inspiration from Chinese performance art and opera, Meihuan also wanted to pay tribute to the bravery shown by frontline workers during the pandemic and adding elements of an armor, like shoulder pieces and a chest plate, to her dress. "I wanted to dedicate my dress to them," Meihuan added.
From the tuxedo category, Ryan Bekic made it as a finalist with his black and red gothic attire. "My suit tells a story, and it's almost a play on the angel and devil motif," the 12-grader said. "My costumes displays that no matter how harsh an exterior somebody has, there's always something of peace and love and light in every single person. Like an onion, you just have to be willing to peel back some layers."
According to Forbes, this is the 21st year of the Stuck at Prom scholarship contest. Since its inception, the program has awarded over half a million dollars in scholarships to students. With five finalists from the dress category and five finalists from the tux category, the contest opened the floor to the public and invited them to vote for their favorite dress. Two winners will finally take home the $10,000 scholarships.
The eight other finalists will also receive $500 scholarships as a reward for their workmanship and design. The final results for this year's contest are yet to be decided.
Cover image source: CBS News/Twitter