Archive for Thursday, December 21, 2006

EHS design student wins contest

December 21, 2006

Every so often, graphic design instructor Jim Lynch just sees it.

A detail might catch his eye as he passes over a student's work, and he knows it has potential. It could be a winner.

For the third year in a row, such a project grabbed the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center teacher's attention. And for the third year in a row, it came from a USD 491 student.

Eudora High School junior Caleb Wright won a design competition by creating the official Kansas state trading pin for the Skills USA National Conference.

The Skills USA group is an organization that awards high school- and college-age students for excellence in vocational skills.

"I was real impressed by the detail and the time he spent on it," Lynch said. "He took quite a bit of time to do it the way he wanted to do it and the result was really good."

Wright's design incorporates two features he said he immediately associates with Kansas.

"Blue cloudy skies and wheat fields were the first things that popped in my head," Wright said. "I kind of developed it from there."

Skills USA participants throughout the state will use the pin as souvenirs to trade with students from other states.

For Wright, the pin's creation became a testament to patience.

"Last year, I didn't do much, but this year I took my time and did something I thought they would most likely like," Wright said.

The process began with Wright drafting the design on a computer screen.

He found a background and laid it out using the graphic design program Adobe Illustrator. He added a layer for the foreground, and then began the most time-consuming aspect of the project.

"I had to draw each individual piece of wheat in the field," Wright said.

The process took him more than a week to finish, he said.

The element was particularly impressive, Lynch said.

"The thing I thought was really cool was his field of waving wheat ---- it was kind of KUish ---- but a lot of people like that you know," Lynch said.

After adding color, Wright still had one important visual element to add to his pin.

"After I got the whole thing finished, I had to draw the shape of Kansas and lay it behind that," Wright said.

The project helped him cultivate focus, Wright said.

"I learned patience," Wright said. "It's something you need a lot with working on design things and design projects. I think just the skills I learned in the program on the computer and learning in detail is going to help a lot."

Wright will receive a pair of cufflinks, 10 pins and $25 for his winning design at the conference.

The conference will take place in April at Wichita. Wright joins Eudora High School graduates Julie White and Lacey Moore in winning design awards from the Skills USA organization.

"I'm always happy when we win because we're competing with everyone in the state," Lynch said. "We have been lucky to win the last three years."

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