#1StudentNWI: Printing success with the Graphic Arts and Digital Design class at the Hammond Area Career Center

#1StudentNWI: Printing success with the Graphic Arts and Digital Design class at the Hammond Area Career Center

What’s recently happened?

Hammond Area Career Center (ACC) students are at the downswing of the semester. Students are prepping for internships, expanding on projects, and busy working hard for the last week of school.

Fundraising for the competition season that kicks off in February has also started. Students fundraise to pay for their competition and travel expenses for these events, and those that compete all the way up to the national level will be spending well over $2,000. 

Students have worked hard this semester to be better prepared for the second semester of their program. As the second semester approaches, students will begin to expand to client work and internships. This means the ACC will be a little bit quieter during the week. Students who are in a two-year program will begin doing mock client work as well as more hands-on training. The second semester is exciting for many reasons. From starting internships, to preparing for graduation, even getting ready to work hands-on with clients, the students are buzzing with excitement for the second semester. 

What’s coming up?

The Graphic Arts and Digital Design class has a lot of excitement going on year round. In this class, students spend time designing, creating t-shirts, and building client relationships. Students in this class create spirit wear for the different classes at the ACC as well as different schools in the Hammond school district. This class is a two-year program, during which students earn six high school credits as well as their Print[ED] certification. Additionally, students earn six dual credits through Vincennes University. 

Students in this class will learn industry standards and skills, including screen printing, embroidery, bindery and finishing operations, layout and design, and so much more. Students learn all the steps necessary to successfully complete an idea they have created in their mind. 

In addition to the technical aspects being learned, students will be getting the Indiana Governor’s Work Ethic Certification. All of the ACC students will begin receiving this certification to make employable adults. This will help students build upon their ever-growing résumé and encourage a better understanding of the workforce outside of a classroom setting. Students can use this certification with their career education to better their chances of getting a job in their desired field right away. 

Staff spotlight:

In the Graphic Arts and Digital Design class, students learn from an instructor who started in the exact same seats that they are currently in. Tom Haluska began his journey in the graphic arts and digital design field when he himself was in high school and has gone full circle to instruct students. Haluska likes being able to educate students and instill work ethic and industry concepts into their time spent together. 

“I enjoy what I do,” Haluska said, “I’m always pretty excited about the new stuff I’m teaching and excited to be here. I like to set up lessons and projects. I’m excited to be here everyday because it doesn’t feel like work. It’s all fun to me.” 

Haluska has been teaching this class for 28 years. He stresses to his students the most important takeaway from his class is the communication aspect. 

“I really stress communication with the projects,” said Haluska. “They need to be able to tell me the steps they took and following up with their production aspects really is important when they come back and report to me what they have done.”

Prior to teaching, Haluska was a printer for the Chicago Tribune. Before that, he was a Whiting High School student that spent half of his day at a career center in East Chicago just like the ACC. Haluska calls himself a true product of career and technical education. 

Student spotlight:

Angelo King is a senior at Hammond Central High School and is in his second year of the Graphic Arts and Digital Design program. King wants to better his art skills on the computer to give him an advantage in his future career in graphic design. Being in this class, King will learn industry standards, general knowledge, and gain advantages that people starting in the industry generally do not have. 

“I like the design process as well as the operation aspect,” King said. “Creating screens and making t-shirts is a lot of fun.”

King is looking forward to furthering his internship experience as he starts his job with the company Accucraft. King began the internship this year after spending the first year of his program learning industry skills and standards. After this class, King plans on attending college at the Art Institute of Chicago. King wants to put more focus in the screen printing aspect and hopes to further his knowledge on bindering.