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Student designers get feedback from studio chiefs

Hilton Head concours hosts annual competition for high schoolers


While the Hilton Head Island Concours was among the collector car events canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, it hasn’t stopped the organizing committee from going ahead with many of its special events on a virtual basis.

For example, the Michelin Junior Challenge Design scholarship competition that usually is part of the concours’ Driving Young America Boulevard showcase. 

The theme for 2020 was “Land, Air & Sea,” and it was open to all high school students in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The work was judged by an expert panel that included the heads of design from Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors, as well as designers from Jaguar and Pixar Animation Studios.

Said Gonzalez, Hilton Head Island High School
Taniyah Brown, Tatiana Nix and Karmarae Smalls, Whale Branch Early College High School
Zachary Seidner, Bluffton High School

“It’s such a tremendous experience for these students – to interact with and present to industry leaders of this caliber, and we’re seeing this contest have a direct impact on what these students see of their futures,” said Lindsey Harrell, concours and motoring festival president. “Two of our six finalists this year want to become an automotive designer.”

Scholarship awards of $500 go to the top design from each of six high schools, with an additional $500 award to the overall winner. This year, that overall winner was Layla Dupont of Battery Creek High School.

“We’ve seen this program grow each year but weren’t sure what to expect this year with the program being run virtually amid COVID-19,” said Ben Ebel of Michelin.

“We received a record number of entries,” he added. 

“We presented an added challenge to the students this year – design for an end user that wasn’t them.  We asked them to design a vehicle specifically for a wheelchair user, and I think that added to the interest and excitement for the students.”

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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