Team from Beattie earns gold in national conference
A team from the A.W. Beattie Career Center in McCandless took home the gold from the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference on June 25-29 in Louisville, Ky.
Departing third-year senior graphic design students Grace Cibula of North Allegheny and Savannah and Sierra Luhrman of Pine-Richland placed first in the high school Career Pathways Showcase — Arts and Communication category.
In its 54th year, the conference is the nation's largest workforce development event for high school and college students. It consisted of 102 events and took up about 25 acres of floor space at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
Each contestant was a gold medalist at the state level.
Teams from Arizona and New Jersey came in second and third, respectively.
Cibula and the Luhrman twins were among nine students from A.W. Beattie, a vocational school that serves high school students from nine northern Allegheny County school districts.
In Career Pathways Showcase, student teams use their course of study as the basis of a project that benefits their class, school, community or industry. After completing the project, they develop a display and use it within the community to explain their training and project.
Cibula chose to work with a realtor to produce printed materials for an annual fundraiser.
Savannah Luhrman worked with a restaurant to design fliers and a banner for a fundraiser and her sister has worked the past two years on a graphics package for a community swimming pool.
Sierra, 18, said it was one of her proudest accomplishments.
“Working with actual clients and redesigning logos, banners, apparel, etc. was absolutely amazing,” she said. “The best part was seeing (client) reactions.”
Cibula, 18, was surprised to have won.
“There were so many people,” she said. “Many of the other projects were really impressive.
“Our hard work paid off.”
A.W. Beattie SkillsUSA adviser Heather Brown said it was the school's first medal of any kind since 2011 and its first gold medal since 2005.
It was its first win in advertising design.
“Knowledge of not only graphic design and software, but prepress operations, advertising techniques and even a little psychology (are) necessary to a successful branding campaign,” Brown said.
Savannah said presenting her best work confidently was key.
The three girls plan to study art or design in college.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributor.