A Henderson Lion who aspires to a medical career to spread his Christian faith is $10,000 nearer his goals, thanks to his ingenuity with duct tape.
Cameron Castles was among hundreds of U.S. high school seniors to fashion their prom attire from Duck Brand duct tape in the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest. The company notified the May graduate late Monday that his King of Hearts tuxedo, which he designed to complement the casino theme of the after-prom party, had taken the top prize for male entrants.
“The whole experience is really just humbling,” Castles said Wednesday from Florida, where he is participating in his second church camp of the summer. “That $10,000 is definitely going to be empowering to me throughout my college experience.”
Castles, 19, used 20 rolls of the trademarked duct tape to create a Southern-style white tuxedo using the familiar playing card’s colors to accent his jacket, bow tie, vest, shoes and cuff links. He painstakingly reproduced the whole card face on the back of the jacket, and he added a Texas-sized belt buckle celebrating the Duck Brand logo in homage to his Lone Star home.
The job took 50 hours for the novice designer. The prospect of a large scholarship propelled the 2019 Henderson football team captain to try his hand at the sticky project.
“Whenever I was doing the duct tape, I was thinking about a scholarship,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking I’m good at clothing design or anything like that. I think I could make a good surgeon. But whatever God calls me to do, I’ll do it.”
Castles, the son of Suzanne and Phil Castles, the latter Henderson ISD’s athletic director, said he aspires to be an overseas physician mending bodies and bringing the Gospel wherever he serves.
“A lot of opportunity is offered to people that are medical that are not afforded to missionaries,” he said, adding he eventually hopes to return to East Texas. “I love, especially, East Texas.”
He said he plans to begin his medical journey this fall at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, not Texas Baptist College in Longview as previously reported, saying he had misspoken the name of the school when the contest was ongoing.
Sponsored by Duck Brand, the contest awards $10,000 scholarships to the best dress and tux each year, plus four $500 runners-up rewards in each category. Castles and a San Antonio woman were the only two Texans in the contest, which drew hundreds of entrants that narrowed to 78 finalists.
Castles said he has shipped his award-winning suit to the Duck people. He’s OK with that, given his memories of baking in the nonporous outfit at the summer night party.
“They are actually going to display it, which is fine with me,” he said. “There’s no way I’m going to wear that suit again. It was hot, but it was fun.”