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When Ben Murray accepted the job as a CTE instructor for graphic design and interactive media Clay High School in South Bend, Indiana, he couldn’t contain his happiness. One reason was his new classroom contained all kinds of “toys”—a 54-inch Roland TruVis SG-540 Printer/Cutter, a Roland VersaUV LEF12 benchtop UV flatbed printer for printing on 3D objects such as awards and promotional items and a Hotronix Heat Press for transferring printed designs to t-shirts and caps.
“I was amazed at all of the technology we had available to our students. It was a big investment for our school,” Ben says. “Having this technology expanded what I could teach my students.”
The “giant” Roland printer gave Ben some big ideas. Having been a professional graphic designer for more than 20 years, he incorporated the business of graphic design into his classes to teach students how to be design entrepreneurs.
“For many students, being a freelance designer is a new concept. My goal is to teach them how to use the school’s design software and printing technology to make products and then how to work with clients, negotiate prices and meet deadlines. Not only do they learn business and communications skills they can use in future careers, they build their math and English skills, too,” he explains.
Ben let the rest of Clay High School know that his student designers were available for projects. People could hire them—at prices slightly above the cost of materials—to produce banners and promotional items. One of the first clients was the school’s football team. The coach hired Ben’s students to create large-scale banners of all of the senior football players to display at the stadium throughout this fall’s football season.
“The students jumped on the project. They photographed the players in uniform, designed the banners and then printed them with our Roland Printer. They did a very professional job,” Ben says.
The opportunities to build their skills really ramped up when Ben became the faculty advisor for Clay High School’s spirit club. His students and their printing technology became the school’s internal marketing department, producing t-shirts for homecoming and banners for other events. They are now working with a local food bank to design and print custom golf balls for a golf outing.
After several months, the spirit club had amassed a profit of $400. Ben suggested they throw themselves a pizza party, but the students had another idea: they wanted to donate to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
“I asked them, ‘Would you like to have a pizza party and send what’s left for hurricane relief? They said no; they wanted to donate all of the money. These are really good kids.”
The students weren’t content sending an ordinary check. They printed a 54-inch check with the Roland printer and held an official presentation ceremony.
As for Ben, he’s thankful that South Bend Community Schools’ former CTE Director Laura Marzotta consulted with Laura Coard of Aidex to select the technology for Clay High School’s professional graphic design lab. He’s also thankful to Aidex’s technician, Jeff Carr, for the installation and ongoing availability for support.
Says Ben, “The Roland printers and Hotronix heat press give us a lot of flexibility in what we can do; it’s almost limitless. This is a wonderful program for our students. They are super creative and our technology helps them shine!
Aidex represents Roland DGA and Hotronix educational technology in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska along with many other educational technologies. If you would like to meet with one of our technical sales representatives to explore ways to transform your graphic arts program or to establish your own in-school promotional print and heat press shop, please contact us at Info@Aidex.com.