SARASOTA -- After months of designing and voting, a Braden River High School student's T-shirt design will be worn and on sale at local Cutting Loose salon locations.
The Main Street Sarasota location is celebrating its second anniversary. With that, 26-year-old managing partner Taelor Scheuer wanted to do something special.
"We like to incorporate something into our anniversary celebrations," she said.
Bill Ferrell, an art teacher at Braden River High School, and his wife have been Scheuer's clients for about five years, she said. Scheuer got the idea for the T-shirt design contest after speaking with Ferrell. She met with about 13 students who were interested in creating a T-shirt design for the company. An internal group helped Scheuer narrow the design choices to five distinct options.
During the celebration on Friday evening, Caren Jones, who will be a senior at Braden River in August, found out her shirt was the winning
design. At the top of the T-shirt, Jones used the fitting quote from Coco Chanel, "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life." Underneath it, Jones used Photoshop and Illustrator to create an image of a woman with long, curly hair.
"It's the first time I've ever won anything like this," Jones said. "It makes me feel like I'm closer to being a professional."
Jones' design won in a landslide, said Scheuer. For the month of May, clients, students and their families could vote on their favorite design, through an online survey or in any of the area locations. More than 600 people voted.
At first, Scheuer said she was nervous about asking high school students to create the shirts. She was worried about the students' artistic talent.
"It blew my mind seeing the talent," she said.
Giving local students a hands-on experience was a perfect way for to Scheuer to help give back to the community, she said. The shirts will mostly be worn by students working at Protege, the salon's advanced training program. The shirts will also be on sale to clients and community members.
"It's all about growing the community," she said.
This isn't the first time Ferrell has involved his advanced art students in local community projects, he said. His students have worked with Realize Bradenton, Myakka Community Center and recently helped design the new strategic plan for the Manatee County School District.
"I believe in purpose-drive education," Ferrell said. "That way, they know it's real."
For winning Jones gets the experience, a line on her resume and a complimentary T-shirt. Jones did not receive any money or prize for the win.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney