WORCESTER, MA — Students representing the Graphic Communication Shop at Shawsheen Tech were presented individual Awards of Excellence at the Printing Industries of New England (PINE) annual awards gala held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on April 10.
Marcelo Freitas, a senior from Billerica, Hailey Nardone, a junior from Billerica, and Heather McLaughlin, a sophomore from Tewksbury, were recognized for the quality and creativity of their individual graphic design and print project submitted to PINE, an industry trade association, as part of the associations’ student project competition.
Freitas worked on a new logo for a local construction company and Hailey Nardone designed a new logo for a brewing company. Their respective designs were then printed and/or embroidered onto a variety of apparel that is in use at each company today. Samples of this newly printed apparel were submitted to PINE by Heidi Lloyd and Tom Struthers, both instructors in the Graphic Communications Shop.
“I was very surprised when I learned I won the award,” said Freitas. “It’s awesome. I felt great. There is a certain type of feeling you get after you realize that you made something for someone else that they are going to use. It’s a good feeling.”
Nardone was elated when she heard the news of the award.
“It felt awesome. I really like this type of work and this is what I want to do for my co-op job and then professionally for my work,” Nardone said. “This award gives me more confidence, and now the work is even more fun and interesting, knowing that I can really do this work.”
McLaughlin was recognized for her framed canvas screen print of Bar Harbor Maine. “I was already working on this project. I think I am the first person to use canvas as my material,” she said.
As for the PINE award, McLaughlin added, “I felt proud of myself. I really respect my teacher, Mrs. Lloyd, for submitting my work and thinking it’s worthy of being recognized. The awards mean a lot to everyone else in the shop. It’s really cool that three of us were recognized. It’s great for the shop.”
These students may soon be joining an industry that has a long and storied history in New England. According to Christine Hagopian, the current President of PINE, this member-based organization has been in existence for 130 years as part of the National Printing Industry Association.
However, Hagopian points out that the printing industry has a serious problem.
“Our members are having great difficulty recruiting the next generation of employees for their company,” Hagopian said. “Older employees are retiring and many companies in our industry cannot find enough skilled talent to replace the people who are leaving.”
“The printing industry is healthy and thriving, and there is opportunity for the next generation to do well,” Hagopian added. “This is why we started the Award for Excellence for students three years ago. We want to recognize the schools and students that are doing good work in the graphic communications shops in New England, including Shawsheen Tech.”
Students in the Graphics Communication program at Shawsheen Tech are part of the next generation of employees with the training and work experience needed to fill the employment gap identified by Christine Hagopiian. And according to Heidi Lloyd, an instructor in the Program, the PINE awards are a boost to her students as well as to the program.
“I am thrilled that our students are being recognized! Our shop has undergone some changes over the past few years with the addition of some new equipment. We are now able to expand the education for the students with new and exciting skills and with that it is giving them more employment opportunities,” said Mrs. Lloyd.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Shawsheen Tech.)