12/21/13 Western Alamance student wins decal contest

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A FINE DESIGN
C.T. Harris, a junior at Western Alamance High School, signs a Toyota Camry wrapped with his design Friday after being selected by The Decal Source as the winner of a contest open to Alamance County high school students.

Photos by Scott Muthersbaugh / Times-News

C.T. Harris, a junior at Western Alamance High School, signs a Toyota Camry wrapped with his design Friday after being selected by The Decal Source as the winner of a contest open to Alamance County high school students.

Western Alamance student wins decal contest
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 12/21/13  
Reprinted with permission.

   ELON — Clarence Harris never wanted a Camry until Friday morning.

   “I always said, ‘That’s a nice car, but I wouldn’t drive it,’” the Western Alamance High School junior said. “Now I want a Toyota Camry.”

   This particular Camry was wrapped in a bright yellow decal with bright fl ower patterns and a smiling face all arranged like a wave. It also had his name on the side.

   “Designed by Clarence Harris Western Alamance High School,” it reads.

   The original design sat in the back seat while Harris posed for pictures in the driver’s seat before classes at Western.

   Harris, who goes by C.T., was one of the last to know he had won a contest to have the Design Source put his creation on a car and donate $1,000 to his school.

Harris holds up his design for the contest.  
Harris holds up his design for the contest.  

   The McLeansville company makes vinyl decals for NASCAR teams and others, including the Burlington Police Department and Elon University’s bio buses, according to the company’s website thedecalsource.com.

   “It has been tough because he’s been asking me every day if he won,” said Harris’ art teacher, Beth Wertz. “I told him he might know today … to make sure he would be here.”

   So when his bus rolled into Western’s parking lot the last day of classes before winter break, the bright yellow Camry was waiting for him.

   “I was on the bus,” Harris said. “I looked out the window, and I lost it.”

   Tony Johnson, owner of TDS, and David Oakley, commercial account manager, were there, too. TDS started doing this about two years ago, Johnson said, starting with an elementary school student’s design.

   This year, he decided to go with a high school student’s design and add a $1,000 award for the school.

   “Because you know how school budgets have been cut,” Johnson said. “So his teacher can buy some art supplies.”

   Wertz told her students about the contest and got two entries. Oakley said the company looked at about a dozen of the 40 or 50 entries the school system got. The artists and staff unanimously chose the one by Harris. “We’ve never had that before,” Oakley said, “ever.” Oakley will drive the company car all over Burlington and Greensboro for the next year or so, Johnson said. “People will notice it,” Johnson said.

   Since Johnson runs an art-based business, it seems right to help young artists along.

   “It’s really amazing for us, with us having artists and designers, to encourage somebody to pursue art and go to college,” Johnson said. “So, hopefully, this will motivate him.”

   Harris said the car design grew out of a surf board he wanted made. It got him thinking about Hawaiian designs like the hibiscus. The car has almost abstract fl ower designs in bright colors and fl owers in a wave pattern.

   He says he spent three or four hours on the design. Then he spent weeks waiting to fi nd out whether he had won.

   There will be some reward for the waiting. “I told C.T. he could help me spend the money,” Wertz said.

   Next year, Johnson plans to take the contest to the middle-school level. The man driving the car for the next year is pretty pleased with it. “This one I like,” Oakley said. “With Mardi Gras coming up, I’m going to take it to New Orleans.” Not really, but it is not a bad idea. The Times-News might even want to send a reporter and photographer along.