Students taking drafting classes and graphics printing classes at Richmond Senior High School now have the benefit of working in larger classrooms that resemble professional working environments.
The drafting classes, taught by Greg Norton, moved into the area of the school that was previously used by the former cosmetology program. Norton said the new space provides him with an opportunity to immerse students in a professional work environment.
“This new room puts the students around the perimeter, which gives each student more space and provides individual workstations for them,” Norton said.
In addition to revamping his new space, Norton has implemented some other changes for his students. He said he has eliminated manual drafting, or the physical building of models from his classes. Instead, students will use special 3-D software to create their designs.
“Industry is no longer calling for manual drafting.” Norton said “I was close to eliminating it last year, but after talking with several industry leaders this summer, I knew it was time. Everyone is relying on 3-D modeling.”
Students in drafting courses begin to learn the craft by creating basic sketches, but the sketches are virtually the only work students do on paper. As they move through the design process, they employ the use of 21st century skills and translate their sketches into the 3-D software programs which allow them to construct their models.
Houston Almond, a senior student taking drafting advanced studies, wants to pursue a career in engineering at N.C. State University.
“Before I took drafting, I didn’t realize just how many details are involved,” Almond said. “You have to be very careful, and precise, and it’s more difficult than it looks. It’s a really good feeling to see it all come together.”
Down the stairs and a few doors down, students in the printing graphics classes are also benefiting from an extreme makeover to their classroom. Vacant space in the room next door allowed for this classroom to be expanded, so that the room has a separate printing and production area, from the computer area where students use software.
Graphics teacher Tim McCluskey is excited about the new changes coming for the program. The printing and graphics technology curriculum has been adjusted so that after students take the first level class, they can choose between additional studies in design, where they learn how to prepare digital files, or they can pursue a focus in production, which allows them to explore the use of offset presses. Students will have the opportunity to earn five credits within the graphics pathway. They can also complete an online certification.
“The certification proves that these students know what they’re doing, and have the skills necessary to be successful,” McCluskey said. “Gibraltar Packaging Group has said that any student who graduates from Richmond Senior High with the certification can have a job there.”
McCluskey said that many students seek to pursue design classes, but hopes more students will consider the production route, since there are numerous jobs available in that area.
LeAnne Oliveaux, a junior at RSHS, is unsure of exactly what she might do with the skills gained in the level one class she is currently taking, but said she has enjoyed working with Adobe Photoshop and other design software.
“I really enjoy working with pictures,” Oliveaux said. “I had taken computer apps one and computer apps two, but I had never done anything with graphics.”
Haley Baldwin, another junior, has also enjoyed learning various design techniques in Adobe software programs.
“I really like working on computers,” Baldwin said “Even though I will probably go to school for nursing, this would be a fun hobby.”
A new two-color press in the room has given the program an opportunity to produce materials like a full-scale business. Students in the graphics program have the ability to produce a number of print items including flyers, brochures, discount cards, bumper stickers, banners, T-shirts and other printed items.