Every year, Northview High School students have the opportunity to take Joanna Connors' Fashions and Textiles Technology I class.
On Thursday, students' creations were put to the test as more than 40 pillows were judged by various faculty members to find out who learned the most.
Students coming away being judged as "Best in Class" included Anne Smiley, Jessica Reames, Maci Hoopingarner, Carissa James, Suann Potts, Kaley Huffman, Cari Laue, Kalee Edington, Megann Douglas, Allie Atkinson, Lindsay Thomas, Bree Guerrettaz, Emma Reed, Jaclyn Linton, Rachael Packard and Jennifer Junker.
According to Connors, the students were given two 14X14 pieces of red velveteen fabric. They then drew out a plan for their pillow and made a shopping list for trims, beads and other "notions."
All added embellishments for the pillows had to be hand-basted then machine or hand-sewn on the pillows.
Students use techniques learned throughout the semester and also learned many new techniques along the way. Connors said working with napped fabric -- such as velveteen and velvet -- can be "very challenging."
"Students are constantly problem solving as they carry out their design plan," Connors said. "There is lots of trial and error.
"Students learn the value of perseverance when the project is not going together as easily as they thought. They are not allowed to quit.
"Most of the students were critical of their work and would re-do until they got it perfect."
Connors said the contest has gone on for at least five years and the pillows displayed this year were quite different from past competitions.
"There was more beading done this year than ever before," she said, adding each individual bead is sewn on by using a lock stitch. There are two stitches in every bead and Connors said some of the pillows had more than 100 beads.
"Not only do (the students) experience extrinsic reward, showing off the pillows and hearing all the compliments, but they also experience immense intrinsic reward. The feeling of a job well done," Connors said. "They learned a lot. They had to be patient. I'm so impressed with how creative they are."
Connors said there were eight total judges this year. As one of the judges, NHS science teacher Emily Gough, darted from one pillow to another Thursday, she admitted she had a difficult time.
"I'd rather grade a science test any day," Gough said.