By Austin Konkle
My name is Austin Konkle, and I recently graduated from Dreher High School. In May, my friend Andrea, who also graduated from Dreher, and I entered the 2015 Duck Brand “Stuck at Prom” National Scholarship Competition after constructing our prom attire entirely out of duct tape. A few days ago, we were selected as one of the Top 10 National finalists.
We are now in the running for the $20,000 Grand Prize. The winner is decided based on online voting, and we are currently trying to garner as many votes as possible from the Columbia community.
The link to the voting is at www.stuckatprom.com, and the votes are for Andrea and Austin, specifically.
This could really help put us over the top with the votes. At first, the idea of creating a duct tape prom dress and tuxedo sounded cute and fun. Little did we know this seemingly simple project would test our creativity, endurance, and determination. It took blood, sweat, tears, and over 200 hours of time.
Once Austin and I embarked on the journey, we immediately decided on springtime as our inspiration. To set my dress apart, I created realistic colored flowers with the bright hues of duct tape. My main mission was to make my dress look as if I had handpicked flowers from a garden and sewn them onto my train and bodice.
Whenever I had free time, I made hundreds of intricate blossoms. Austin and I also decided on using maroon and pastel colors of duct tape. Claude Monet’s paintings of gardens heavily influenced the pastel color palette.
To further depict the impressionist style, I scattered the florets along the hips and top of bodice to create the illusion of movement. Austin’s tuxedo complements my dress with the color and incorporation of flowers; yet, it also has its own unique character. His tux contains streamlined geometric designs to contrast the organic design in my dress.
Overall, we are proud of our hard work. Throughout the process, we’ve learned many lessons about perseverance and team cooperation. Creating prom outfits with duct tape will always be a fun and wonderful memory.
Editor’s note: Austin scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT and a perfect 36 on the math portion of the ACT. He was Dreher’s Class of 2015 valedictorian and plans to attend Vanderbilt University. Andrea, a 2015 Richland One Academic All- Star, looks forward to attending Cornell University this fall. Both Austin and Andrea were members of the National Honor Society.