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Stick-to-it-iveness: Duct Tape Scholarship Benefits Juniata Student

(Posted November 5, 2007)

Zac Cupler, a freshman from Grantsville, Md., poses with his girlfriend Adrienne Beiler, in their duct tape-created prom outfits. Zac and Adrienne won a scholarship from Henkel Consumer Adhesives Corp. for their design

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Finding financing for college can often be a sticky situation, but Zachary Cupler, a freshman at Juniata College from Grantsville, Md., solved some of his college financial burden by using duct tape.
Cupler, who is studying biology and psychology at Juniata, received a $3,000 scholarship from Henkel Consumer Adhesives Corp, which manufactures Duck Tape, a brand of duct tape. Cupler, together with his girlfriend Adrienne Beiler, a high school senior from Salisbury, Pa., created prom outfits using various colored duct tape rolls and won the company's national contest "Stuck at Prom.\"
Juniata is somewhat used to having students who receive scholarship money from outlandish sources. After all, Juniata is known across the country for its Beckley Scholarship, an endowed scholarship that provides financial aid for left-handed students. The scholarship is reserved for sophomores, juniors or seniors attending Juniata College. The stipend cannot be applied to other institutions
The scholarship was established by the late Mary Francis Beckley, a former Juniata student, with a bequest of $24,000. In 1919, Mary Francis, a student taking a tennis class, was paired with Frederick Beckley, another student. The tennis coaches, apparently unable to envision a tennis future that would feature such lefty champions as Rod Laver, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, paired the two lefthanders. The Beckleys were married in 1924.
The Duck Tape scholarship, worth $9,000, was divided three ways among Beiler, Cupler and Salisbury High School, which hosted the prom. Cupler says the scholarship is a one-time award and can be used at any college or university.
"It was a lot of work, it was almost like I had a second job,\" says Cupler, the son of Rosie and the late John Cupler of Grantsville. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I really don't want to repeat.\"
Cupler spent at least three weeks helping Beiler make his suit, which was made mostly of brown duct tape. Beiler had already created her dress, which featured pink, orange, brown, purple and blue tapes. "It took about 40 rolls to make Adrienne's dress. We sort of lost count when we started to do my tux.\"
The couple submitted their prom photo to the national contest and were named one of 10 finalists in the national contest. More than 200 couples submitted photos to the company. The scholarship winner was picked by having people vote for each couple at the company Web site: www.ducktapeclub.com.
"You really have to promote yourself to get votes, it also helped that we both come from large families,\" Cupler says with a smile. The couple did a series of radio interviews promoting their candidacy. In the middle of their promotional period, a Hagerstown, Md. television station filmed a news segment for the local NBC-TV affiliate. After the story aired Zac and Adrienne's story was picked up by 40 NBC affiliates across the country.
According to Cupler, his girlfriend did most of the design work. She made her prom gown by herself, using a pattern and a bedsheet. "I was only allowed to tear the tape, Adrienne is the artistic one,\" Cupler says of his design duties.

"It took about 40 rolls to make Adrienne's dress. We sort of lost count when we started to do my tux.\"

Zac Cupler, Juniata freshman

In the end, Cupler and Beiler received more than 12,000 votes in the contest. The couple was awarded the scholarship in June.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.