They couldn’t quite win the whole contest, but Gilbert Classical Academy students Josh Flader and Liz Gazca’s “Hunger Games-” inspired prom dresses did give the pair a second-place finish and $3,000 apiece in the Duck brand “Stuck at Prom” Scholarship Contest.
The competition, sponsored by the duct tape company, had contestants create prom outfits out of the multipurpose adhesive products and submit photos of themselves wearing the garments to Duck brand. Thousands of teens tried their hands at the prom, and Duck brand whittled all of those entries to just 10 teams, who competed against one another in an online vote that ended on July 8.
Taking first overall was a couple who made Victorian-era outfits complete with a false mustache and a top hat. Flader and Gazca, who will enter their senior years at Gilbert Classical, took second with their outfits inspired by the clothes Katniss and Peeta wore during their introduction in “The Hunger Games.” Making the costumes required Flader and Gazca to use 24 rolls of multi-colored duct tape and took approximately 217 hours to finish over a four-month span.
“It was totally worth it,” Gazca said.
She credited the couple’s second-place finish in part to their families, who Gazca said contributed to their success by voting frequently from Mexico and Colorado.
“We are very grateful to everyone who voted for us,” she added.
For getting second, Flader and Gazca each receive a $3,000 scholarship that will go toward their college education. In a previous interview, Flader said he wants to use the money to attend a college in either California or on the east coast, while Gazca said she wants to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
Entering the “Stuck at Prom” contest was one of the ways Gazca opted to raise the funds required to attend Pepperdine, as her goal is to raise $100,000 to help compensate for the expenses.
“Only $97,000 more to go,” she said, adding there might be a way to cut down on that dollar amount through additional loan opportunities.
Flader and Gazca were the second set of East Valley students to place in the contest. Last year, students at Desert Ridge High School — the East Valley campus is part of the Gilbert Unified School District, but located in Mesa — won the grand prize. Lara Ford and Cole Sudduth each received the $5,000 scholarships, with Desert Ridge winning a matching prize as well.
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