Fresh 23 Goes Out With a Bang


Student-designed shoes strut down the runway at the tenth and last Fresh 23 on Saturday May 6. by Coleman Erickson

Rachel Vigil, Editor-in-Chief

On Saturday night people packed into a hot auditorium for the last Fresh 23: Fresh 23 Ten Years.

Started back in 2008 by art teacher Franky Scaglione and his friend, and Vans distributor, Shawn Gruenhagen, it has grown to a worldwide contest.

As per usual, students in Scaglione’s classes painted Vans shoes and put on a fashion show for the school. However, to commemorate this last hurrah, the show was in many ways larger, longer, and more emotional than in years past. Twenty-three alumni of Fresh 23 also designed shoes that were displayed out in the cafeteria.

The show started with Scaglione and Gruenhagen taking the stage to talk about the origin of the show and to thank people. Back in 2008, Gruenhagen suggested Scaglione have some of his students paint shoes.

Although they came up with the initial idea, “Those students decided we were going to do a fashion show,” Scaglione said. This year’s show even had some of those students from 2008 attending. A few have helped with every show since the beginning. One, Ethan Barrett, traveled all the way from Mexico City in order to attend.

Fresh 23’s popularity surprised Gruenhagen and Scaglione. Gruenhagen planned to, “Spread out maybe 100 people in here then it won’t feel empty, and we won’t feel like losers.” Instead, they filled the auditorium.

From there, they knew that this show had to continue. This was especially solidified for Gruenhagen when one of the artists came up to him, crying and told him that “This is the coolest thing I’ve done in high school.”

It soon became both an annual tradition for the school and Studio 23, and as Scaglione puts it, “A family.” Vans also approached the school and decided to implement this idea into a contest called Custom Culture. Now 13,000 schools also paint shoes across the world. Scaglione spread it a bit on his own when he brought it with him to Hungary the year he taught there.

“The energy was contagious, and that’s what was really cool about this thing,” Scaglione stated.
The pair thanked their many loyal sponsors. The audience became very energized once the raffle began. Prizes of snowboards, skateboards, backpacks, and giant shoes were given away to lucky winners. Scaglione and crew also threw out prizes to the audience including some limited edition Fresh 23 Vans hats.

The show then moved to a video, cataloging the ten years of shows. Recordings of all ten shows played and the audience got to see how the it grew and traveled over the years.
The end of the video featured this year’s artists with a look at their painting process and the different groups.

Then, the video ended and the artists came rushing in. Dancing like robots, they slowly made their way to the front of the stage and held up signs with the logos from all ten years. Instead of a unifying theme for all the groups this year, they all borrowed from past themes, so every team was distinct from the other.

The group Renaissance of the Renegades came on first, wearing masks and and dancing for the audience to techno music in a well choreographed routine.

Next, Road Trippin’ came out dressed as tourists with a routine involving looking at a map, taking pictures of the audience, and having one team member, junior Cole Franklin, put on a sparkly beard.
The next group, Friss Hungarian Style, was based off the year Fresh 23 was in Hungary. Hungarian music played in the background as they danced in a circle wearing roses.

Return to the Jungle came to the stage next. They had a dance staged throughout the runway and stage in which junior Riley Hoffman took center stage.

Surfboards were brought out as the Summer of ‘66 took the stage. Their routine involved surfing, a secret handshake, and popping party poppers out onto the audience.

Finally, Decked in Jazz, the last group of the night, came on stage. It began with senior Melissa Geer “playing” a saxophone to jazz music. The rest of the group soon rushed on with flags and began dancing. They threw around the flags on the runway and ended with senior Hannah Livingston doing the splits, much to the crowd’s delight.

After the fashion show ended, Scaglione called out all the artists onto the stage. After thanking them, they turned the tables on him.

“All of us who have been touched by Fresh 23 want to thank them in the only way we know how,” said Livingston stepping forward. The artists gave Scaglione and Gruenhagen each a pair of painted shoes. The night ended with a reception in the cafeteria with food, root beer floats, and, most importantly, the shoes. Fresh 23 has ended at our school, but it has left a mark on the school and world.