You think TV's "Project Runway" challenges its contestants? Try this: Make wearable fashion out of paper.
That's exactly what the third annual Paper Skirt fashion show was all about.
Held at Brentwood's Liberty High, teacher Ada Weeks recently led a group of 94 students who were the designers and models.
Best in Show awards went to Veronica Muha and Autumn Queen. Also taking the top prize were Josvely Villanueva, who made a hand-painted skirt and top made of newspaper; Aurelia Carranza and Monika Brennan for their corn-husk cheetah skirt; and Jordan Largent for her mermaid gown made of more than 800 coffee filters.
Prizes were awarded for most creative, best use of recycled items, best individual designer, best team presentation, most beautiful and best accessories. Weeks was thrilled with the prizes generously donated by local businesses.
Weeks said the judging panel, which included Michelle Prior from San Francisco's Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, had a tough time picking.
Participating in the increasingly popular event were students from beginning clothing classes and an advance fashion design/interior design class.
Although the event runs in late January, students get into a runway state of mind during the first week of school in July.
"We began learning how to pivot, pose and walk with good posture," Weeks said. "Students loved knowing (they) could use their fashion textbooks
The big assignment: Design and create a skirt, made entirely of paper, tape and recycled items. The instructor's goals were multilayered, ranging from garment construction to fitting to design elements.
"They needed to tackle the 'engineering' issues of the fit and then decide how to embellish it."
Extra credit was given for a complete outfit and accessories.
Aside from sewing skills, Weeks said students gained confidence, hands-on skills and an "opportunity to challenge their own creative pursuits. I truly saw incredible talent unfold.
"The synergy in the classroom was amazing. As the projects developed, I could see how the students inspired each other and the fun (collaboration)."
For more information about the program, call 925-634-3521.
POETRY IN MOTION: Independence High recently held its fifth annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Ten participating Brentwood students memorized, interpreted and recited poems.
First-place winner Amata Abatcha delivered Emily Dickinson's "I felt a Funeral in my Brain," earning $100. Katherine Buffum took second and $75, while Keana Blomquist placed third and $50. According to a news release, Independence principal Colleen Sanchez praised the entire "group's talents, commitment and initiative in taking on the challenge of poetry recitation."
Also hitting the poetry trail was Antioch's Deer Valley High in its sixth year.
Led by teacher Pandora Bethea, 15 students shared their renditions of works by famous poets.
First prize and $100 went to senior Christine Osiuhwu for her "amazing recitation of 'Father, Son and Holy Ghost' (by Audre Lorde)," Bethea said.
Jada Malone ("The Kiss by Robert Graves) took second prize and Marlon Santos ("Dirge Without Music" by Edna St. Vincent Millay) snagged third place. The two won a Barnes and Noble gift card.
In 2010, DV produced the state's third-place winner with Cheryl Evans.
The two area winners now move to the county level later this month with hopes of heading to the state contest.
Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
CRAB CLASSIC: Dallas Ranch Middle hosts its fourth annual crab feed from 6-10 p.m. March 2 at Antioch Community Center, 4701 Lone Tree Way in Antioch. The all-you-can-eat crab event features beer, wine, a coffee bar, a dessert auction and prize drawings. Cost is $45; $20 for under 14. All proceeds benefit the supply budget for the Antioch school. For more info or to donate, call 925-778-6632 or 925-642-1500.