Two 2012 graduates from Desert Ridge High School are finalists in the national “Stuck at Prom” scholarship competition, which asks participants to design, create and wear original prom attire in return for a grand prize of $5,000 for college.
The catch: The entire outfit has to be made out of duct tape.
Lara Ford, 17, and Cole Sudduth, 18 – both of Mesa – are up for matching $5,000 college scholarships, which includes a grant to their school for an equal amount as well.
The competition was discovered months ago when Sudduth was searching online for college scholarships, Ford said.
“He was getting frustrated and just for fun, flipped to the fashion section,” she said.
There, he discovered Duck Tape Brand’s annual scholarship competition.
The two, who have been best friends since meeting in seventh-grade orchestra where they both played the violin, decided the competition was something they’re interested in.
“Both of us are into runway modeling and red carpet fashion, but neither of us had done something like this before,” Ford said.
And after the amount of work and hours the two put in, they probably won’t be doing anything similar for a while, she said.
Ford’s dress was created by making a simple dress out of black fabric and covering it with duct tape, while Sudduth’s outfit was created by covering a tuxedo with duct tape. Every detail, including a corsage, boutonniere, necklace, earrings, handbag and both sets of shoes were created using duct tape.
In total, the two spent 127 hours over nine months, Ford said.
“The majority of the time was cutting out the lace,” she said. “The lace pattern has seven different components.”
And while they did get a little guidance from Sudduth’s cousin who is an artist, the work was performed by the two of them, Ford said.
“It was a really fun process, though,” Ford said. “We had fun jamming out.”
And those times when it wasn’t so fun?
“Cole was always there to calm me down,” Ford said. “But really, it’s a blast. It definitely made us closer.”
As part of the competition, the two had to wear their custom design to their prom—something that Ford said kept them from the dance floor.
“Think we were only able to dance for a half hour,” she said. “Everybody loved it; they kept on coming up and asking questions.”
Even the DRHS principal and administrators wanted pictures with the duo, Ford said.
Both teens plan to pursue careers in the medical field, rather than the fashion world. Ford plans on attending Eastern Arizona College to study pre-optometry, and Sudduth plans to attend Chandler-Gilbert Community College and major in pre-med.
If the two place second, they could each win a $3,000 scholarship, or $2,000 apiece for third. The school would get matching amounts in either case. Even if the two don’t place, all of the remaining finalists win $500 each.
“The most important thing is to get money for our school,” Ford said. “That’s what we’re really focused on.”
The winners will be announced on July 12. Voting concludes on July 11, and voters may vote once a day. To view a photo gallery and cast your vote, visit evtnow.com/ducktapeprom. More details can be found at facebook.com/StuckAtPromColeLara.
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