By Ayse Eldes, Editor-in-Chief
As a paper-and-pen artist, Rolling Meadows senior Miranda Adelman wasn’t sure about trying graphic arts at first. Her freshman year was the first year Rolling Meadows adopted the career pathway courses, and after encouragement from her mom, Adelman chose to take Graphic Arts Level 1. This decision was the turning point in career plans for the future.
“Originally I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know,’” Adelman said. “I took the class my sophomore year, and I kind of just fell in love with everything.”
When Rolling Meadows first adopted the district-wide graphic arts career pathway courses during Adelman’s freshman year, there were three full classes. Now graphic arts classes are are given every single block of the day, leaving no vacancy in graphic design teacher Kent Dyre’s classroom.
For those interested in pursuing graphic design, Dyre explained the four different courses offered. Students start with Graphic Arts Level 1 and move on to an advanced design course, which, offered at all district schools, combines an internship opportunity at Harper College with an honors-level design course.
In Rolling Meadows, next year’s enrollment in the course is an estimated 56 students, roughly double the size of the last two years.
“I really like that class, and one reason being you get college credit; the second thing is you’re getting [District] 214 credit,” Dyre said. “The class is all project based, and it’s really geared toward real-life designing, real-life application.”
Adelman took part in the Harper internship during the summer after her sophomore year, working on various projects such as designing a virtual tour, preparing an informational pamphlet to be mailed out to 15,000 students and organizing stock images. She believes this experience taught her about her own artistic style compared to others.
“At Harper, they’re a lot more streamlined and clean cut, but [my art] is more free flowing and eclectic,” Adelman said. “If I were working at a graphic design firm, I’d like it to be somewhere I can put my spin on stuff.”
After the dual-credit class, students in the district can take either the Advanced Placement course for graphic design or the Small Business Management class. Adelman, having taken both, encourages students to explore all options.
“I would definitely say experiment,” Aldeman said. “You’re not going to know that unless you try different things.”
According to Dyre, Small Business Management combines business elements with graphic design projects, bringing together students of different interest backgrounds. In the class, students form teams to work on design projects for real-life clients, learning how to manage a budget, meeting client requests and arranging delivery and packaging to their customers.
Prospect High School, while not offering Small Business Management, offers students in its Entrepreneurship course to collaborate with those in beginner graphic arts classes. Students design shirts, buttons, posters or other projects requested from their peers. Prospect graphic arts teacher Andre Poisson feels that students are most excited to take his beginner class.
“I get a lot of seniors who take [that class] and go, ‘I wish I would have taken it earlier,’” Poisson siad.
During their second year in the career pathway, Poisson organizes several class field trips for students to visit different companies and their graphic arts departments. Recently when on a field trip to a local photoshoot, one of his students discovered how their passion for makeup could be combined with a graphic arts background to work on such sets.
“There are so many opportunities and so many different things, so everybody can find their niche,” Poisson said.
Similar to Prospect, students at Rolling Meadows have designed t-shirts for the D214 Board of Education, local Juliette Low Elementary School, the Rolling Meadows fire department and the school’s own sports and clubs. Graphic design students provide apparel designs for the school’s spirit store, selling shirts starting at $5 to make sure every student can buy one.
“Some of these kids are telling me, “We’re walking down the hall, and we see like 500 people wearing the shirt I designed,’” Dyre said. “That’s how it’s developing over here, and I think the kids are taking pride in it, and they’re enjoying seeing their stuff everyone and knowing that by being part of this class, this pathway, they’re reshaping and redesigning our school and our school spirit.”
Meadows students are also involved in the reimaging efforts at their school, taking charge of designing the new Google Classroom being implemented in the building.
“I often say just how lucky I am because I teach the most amazing course, and the whole pathway is just really exciting over here,” Dyre said.