Think Project Runway meets Junkyard Wars and you would have a general idea of the latest Oswego County Academic Youth (OCAY) League competition. Teams from each of the nine Oswego County school districts converged on the SUNY Oswego campus for a unique competition that brought together ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œfashion designers with a reuse and recycle attitude.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The competition challenged the teams to create a fashionable and school appropriate outfit, complete with shoes and accessories using recycled clothing, and other materials including bottle caps, toilet paper tubes, newspapers and magazines and hundreds of other ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthrowawayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â items. The students had approximately three hours to design, and create their fashion before presenting their outfit at a fashion show. Teams also had to create drawings of their items – individually and the outfit as a whole, and create a designer logo that defined their outfit with recycling as the central focus. The results were astounding.
A fashion show to rival Paris and Milan began with creations that belied their humble beginnings in the recycle bin. The clever use of materials to create accessories like the oatmeal box purse covered in broken CDs to create a mirrored look with a piece of metal conduit fashioned into a handle, to the complete duct tape shoes with juice bottle cap heels spoke of the studentsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ ingenuity and creativity. Many items were so appealing and unique that it was difficult to see that they began as anything other than the finished item without watching the transformation first-hand. Several students asked their coaches if they could keep the artistic creations and some models wore their outfits back to their home schools. During the competition facts about recycling and the need to reduce the amount of waste that gets thrown away was interwoven within the framework of the competition, and students were encouraged to look for ways to find new and innovative ways to reuse and recycle.
Impartial judges were asked to determine the top three schools in the difficult task of selecting the winners of the competition. Finishing third to win the bronze medal was the team from Phoenix, silver medalist was the team from Central Square and finishing first with the gold medal was the Mexico team.
The third OCAY League competition is scheduled for March.
The OCAY League was organized in the spring of 1997 with the idea that academics merit a standing comparable to athletics. StudentsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ academic skills are challenged and showcased in a wide variety of competitive events that emphasize scholastic excellence, team building, leadership and creativity. The OCAY League is administered by Oswego County BOCES and offered as a cooperative service to the districts.