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Junior high students get real-world design experience

by Christina Schmidt

SHERIDAN – The Sheridan Junior High Business Graphics Design class recently partnered with Hammer Chevrolet to create a new service menu for the business, giving the students real-world application of the skills they are learning.

The class was invited to redesign the service menu, which is given to customers listing various services and prices, with the student of the winning design getting a $20 gift certificate to a local business of their choice.

The students had five class periods to work on the project and business and technology teacher Steve Davies then selected the top 10 designs and forwarded them to Hammer Chevrolet Service Manager Chris Hayden for consideration.

Eighth-grader Jordan Carlton was selected as the winner and chose Qdoba as his gift certificate choice.

“The service menu just didn’t look very good,” Davies said. “It was a copy of a copy of a copy! We just had the kids recreate it and add their own style to it and submit it.”

The idea for the project originally grew out of the World of Work Tour that Hammer Chevrolet participates in with the junior high school. Several times a year, students visit several local businesses and talk with employees. The students can ask questions, explore the facility and learn more about a particular vocation. Hayden said he is a big advocate for encouraging students to explore technical trades and encourages their participation each year.

“The last time after they came in they sent me a thank you via email and it was so neat, their use of graphics and the way they can use computers,” Hayden explained. “I thought, ‘I have an old and not so cool looking menu here.’ Not only could they do it better, they have more time and are looking for constructive things in the classroom.”

“Some of them are just fantastic,” he continued, about the submissions he received. “I went through and made some changes and picked the one I liked the best. It was a neat project to be able to use their abilities and work together with them.”

Davies said though this is the first local partnership he has had with the business community, he invites more requests.

“Any businesses that want to do that, I am game,” he said.

“We are always looking for avenues to keep the kids motivated. It gives them a tangible link to the work world. It helps them improve their graphics skills and technical skills in terms of programs they are likely to use in their future. It gives them a more tangible motivation toward life.

“The less theoretical you can make things and the more real you can make it, the better,” Davies added. “That is the kind of stuff that sticks in your head because it is a real application. It lets kids know this can actually be used in the real world.”

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