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Taylorsville Journal

THS senior Ian Hernandez has already earned a $10,000 college scholarship, thanks to his award-winning tuxedo made of duct tape

Sep 11, 2023 01:33PM ● By Carl Fauver

Taylorsville High School senior Ian Hernandez made both the stuffed animal snake in his hand and the tuxedo fashioned with duct tape. (Courtesy Ian Hernandez)

Lest we confuse anyone, that nearly-always silver tape we use to fix everything from television remotes to your kids’ soccer shoes is duct tape – as in “heating duct.” But one of its most popular brands – which comes in a rainbow of colors – is “Duck Tape.” And, ironically, ducks are one of the few things you should never try to fix with Duck Tape. Our PETA friends frown on that.

Taylorsville High School senior Ian Hernandez never really knew much about Duck Tape (or duct tape, for that matter), until he learned about their annual Stuck At Prom Scholarship Contest last spring. Now that contest has lined his duct tape pockets with $10,000 to spend on the college of his choice.

“I learned about the contest somewhere on social media,” Hernandez explains. “I thought it sounded kind of weird. I had never made anything with duct tape before. But I’d been doing crafts for a couple of years and thought it would be a fun challenge. I certainly didn’t think I would win the grand prize.”

Duck Tape brand launched its Stuck At Prom contest 23 years ago. Each year the company selects its top five dresses and top five tuxedos fashioned out of their multicolored product. Each of those 10 finalists earn $500. From there, online voting determines the $10,000 champion in each of the two categories.

“Once Ian became a finalist, his mother Jessica got the word out on social media to drum up votes,” Ian’s father, Fidel Hernandez said. “We have friends in Australia, Germany, El Salvador and other places. Their votes must have helped – because Ian won.”

Fidel and Jessica Hernandez were each born in El Salvador – but then made their way to Toronto. Ian and his three siblings were born in Canada. They’ve lived in Taylorsville since moving to the United States in 2016.

“I taught myself how to sew when I was bored during the (2020) pandemic,” Ian explained. “I started out making stuffed animals. You can learn how to do anything on YouTube.”

A Los Angeles-area teen, Karla Torres, claimed the $10,000 top prize for the best duct tape prom dress. 

“I began designing my duct tape tuxedo in April but then stopped working on it for a while,” Ian Hernandez said. “I finished it in late June, after putting in about 57 hours on it. The Duck Tape company first notified me I was a finalist. Then they left a voicemail on my phone telling me I was the grand prize winner in the tuxedo category.”

As of a few weeks ago, Ian was still awaiting his $10,000 check. He’s not yet decided which school will receive the money.

“I am thinking about attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, or possibly the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City,” he added. “But I’m not sure I want to pursue fashion. I’m also considering studying math or chemistry. I will probably attend BYU if I decide to do that.”

Whichever direction Ian finally selects, Taylorsville High School Principal Emily Liddell is confident he will succeed.

“He’s a phenomenal student; our teachers speak very highly of him,” Liddell said. “I was not aware Ian had entered the duct tape tuxedo contest until after he won it. Each year, we have one or two students who earn scholarships of this ($10,000) magnitude. They are rare. He was self-motivated to earn it, which is particularly impressive.”

Hernandez says now that his final year at Taylorsville High is just beginning, he’s self-motivated to accomplish something else at the school. 

“I want to start a sewing club at Taylorsville High,” Ian concluded. “They’ve never had one before, that I am aware of. I think that would be a fun legacy to leave. It’s a fun, practical hobby.”

And when you apply Duck Tape duct tape to the product, sometimes sewing can literally “pay off.”λ

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