PORTLAND - Lakeridge High School students took on a tough challenge in hopes of winning $50,000 for the school. They ve spent the past few months designing, painting and even taking apart tennis shoes made by VANS.

I ve learned so much about working on a deadline and creating a 3-D art piece out of unusual material, said student Alex O Boyle.

Four of the class creations were entered in a national contest sponsored by VANS. The Lakeridge students were named finalists in the Northwest Region and have a chance at winning a trip to New York City and the $50,000 for the art department.

Online voting will determine the winner so the students are working hard to get out the vote.

We are basically shameless about asking for support. We ve been to every Starbucks in the area asking for votes, explained student Kelsey Walker.

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They also printed 10,000 postcards which highlight the sneaker-based works of art. One features high tops made into Mount Hood, another has hand-carved oars and depicts a dragon boat theme.

A third pair of shoes is covered with metal studs and the tongues are pierced in a tribute to Portland s music scene.

The final entry is a modern sculpture made from a deconstructed shoe.

I just sat for three hours taking apart the shoe and couldn t believe all that was inside, remembered student Megan Johansen.

Online voting goes through May 13 and the students are confident their creativity will keep them a step ahead of the competition.

At first they wanted the trip to New York, but now they have it in their bellies that they d really like to win that $50,000 for the art department, that would be huge, said teacher Shannon McBride.

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