Cameron Castles

HHS grad is finalist for Duct Tape Scholarship

With a crafty and artistically inclined mind, recent Henderson High School graduate, Cameron Castles built a full tux, shoes and accessories for prom from Duct Tape. Castles took on this challenge early but for a purpose that is hopefully paying off in the next few days.

“Senior year, I had a lot of opportunity because Henderson offers only so many advanced courses and I took quite a few of them,” Castles said. “So senior year was fairly uneventful with exception of  football and powerlifting seasons so I really started looking at scholarships. I don’t want  my college to cost so much and my little brother’s and sister’s opportunities to be limited. So really started looking at scholarship and came across the Duck Tape one.”

Duck Brand offers a “Stuck at Prom” scholarship contest each year for high school students. One boy and one girl will each be awarded $10,000 if voted first and $500 to four runner-ups in each category. 

Castles has found himself in the top 10, which is when the online voting begins. As of Friday afternoon, he was in first place for the boys, with over 18,000 votes. The voting closed at midnight Friday and Castles will find out shortly after if he won. 

“People are really getting behind it and I stand an okay chance of winning at this point,” Castles said. “Blows my mind that so many people got behind this. It’s really humbling.”

His southern style white tux was incorporated with patterns of red and gold and complete with a  King of Hearts playing card on the back. The entire tux was to the theme of King of Hearts except for his belt buckle that had the Duck Brand logo. 

“As far as the belt buckle goes, I wasn’t planning on doing something that wasn’t specifically Duct Tape but on the criteria in one of the categories said use of Duct Tape product,” Castles said. “The wording was funny to where I thought I had to incorporate that somehow. Then after re-reading it I realized I didn’t have to do that.” 

His entire ensemble for prom night was duct tape except for under garments and his button down shirt. Castles chose to do a King of Hearts theme since the after-prom party theme was casino night. 

“I wanted something that was easily recognizable and not something totally weird,” Castles said. “I wanted something that everyone would be like ‘oh, that’s cool.’” 

The project took roughly 50 hours and 20 rolls of duct tape. When pitching the grand idea at his parents, Suzanne and Coach Phil Castles, he insured them that even if he doesn’t win the $10,000 scholarship it would be worth it. 

“My mom is all about everything, you know, she’s great,” Castles said. “She’s a high energy person and I inherited some of that, which is great. My dad has to see the practicality of it. So I kind of had to pitch it to him a little bit.”

Castles conviced to his dad by showing him it would save the family money because, if anything, they didn’t have to rent a tux and the coach agreed.

With help from mom’s cutting board, siblings and mom here and there, he was able to finish on time. 

Classmates had some notice of the project but no one knew what to expect till they saw it. He had many classmates touch it out of disbelief that it wasn’t fabric.

“There is still a few that are convinced the design back is not tape but it is,” Castles said.

Due to the fact that Duct Tape does not breath well and not meant for wearing, Castles was able to lose six pounds while wearing his custom made tux. 

“I had just come off of powerlifting season, so I was used to watching my weight,” Castles said. “So I knew what my weight was resting at so then afterword I knew I was dehydrated because I had been sweating all night, so I weighed myself.”

Castles’ plans to attend East Texas Baptist University in Marshall thanks to scholarship opportunities.

“What I want to do later on in life is to go on into the mission field as a surgeon,” Castles said. “So that requires an extensive amount of education and at least some background with ministry.”

Castles feels ETBU will be a perfect fit for him to use the christian platform to help him achieve his dreams.

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