WCCT student honored for graphic design skills

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/27/17

A Dora High School senior who attends the Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT) has been recognized as one of the top graphic design students in the nation.

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WCCT student honored for graphic design skills


A Dora High School senior who attends the Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT) has been recognized as one of the top graphic design students in the nation.

Rhiannon Harris, a third-year WCCT student, was a gold medal winner in Alabama’s State Pin Design Contest at the SkillsUSA competition earlier this year. She went on to place eighth in pin design out of students in 50 states that competed at the SkillsUSA national competition in Louisville, Ky., in June. Harris, 17, plans to channel that same momentum when she enters the state SkillsUSA competition again in 2018.

SkillsUSA highlights the accomplishments of career and technical education students across the country by hosting state and national competitions that feature the work of over 6,000 students in 100 competition areas.

WCCT graphic design instructor Chace Frost said he has taught graphic design for 13 years, and Harris is his first student to ever compete at SkillsUSA nationals.

“She’s gone further than any student I’ve ever had,” Frost said. “I’ve never had anybody get up to eighth in the nation. Competing against all 50 states at that level is some hard competition. ... She actually beat college and high school students in Alabama with that design that she did.”

Frost said it’s even more impressive that Harris competed at the national level in only her second year of graphic design study. Harris competed in June and didn’t enter her third year at WCCT until August.

Harris’ award-winning pin design features the state of Alabama wrapped in a bright red ribbon. Vulcan and buildings in the Magic City are depicted in shades of black, gray and white within the state’s borders, accompanied with a royal and sky blue spiral stripe design. Stamped across the red ribbon is Alabama SkillsUSA 2017.

Vulcan and the heart of Birmingham were Harris’ main focus in the design because she says featuring the state’s rich history of the steel industry was important.

It took Harris a few weeks to sketch her design, and she used Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to digitally complete the design and display for the pin.

“She put all the hard work in on it. She didn’t design that in one day. That was a long process,” Frost said. “She’s put in all the hard work in order to not just do the basic assignments but also excell and really learn past the assignments. That’s really what it takes.”

When Harris completes her final year in graphic design at WCCT in May, she will have her Print Advertising Design and Adobe Certified Associate in Photoshop certifications.

“I want to go to college and continue my education in graphic design and get a degree in it,” Harris said. “My mom and her brother both went through this course back in the ‘90s, and I decided I wanted to do it too. I’ve always been really interested in creativity and the arts, whether it’s fine arts or commercial arts. It’s always been something I’ve really liked doing.”

Before Harris graduates, she will compete in another SkillsUSA competition, and she hopes to design a logo for another career and technical organization as well.

While mastering a number of programs in the graphic design course at WCCT, Harris has also learned to restore photos, build advertisements, and design T-shirts, displays, posters and notepads.

“I strongly urge anyone who is passionate about what they do to take their skills to competition,” Harris said. “You really get a lot of experience out of it, and it pushes you in ways you wouldn’t expect.