Passion for animation leads technical center student to national contest win | News

Parents might want to think twice next time they admonish their kids for spending too much time watching cartoons. After school screen time might just turn out to be career research.

A passion for animation and a talent for old fashioned, two-dimensional print art have driven one Crawford County Career and Technical Center student to national prominence — and to Chicago.

Olivia English, a senior at Meadville Area Senior High School, recently won the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation Student Design Competition. In the nine years the national contest has been held, the Crawford County Career and Technical Center has produced two contest winners and a third-place finisher.

In addition to the $2,000 cash prize that comes with winning the competition, English received an all-expenses paid trip to the award ceremony at Print 17, a trade show for the printing industry that attracted nearly 20,000 participants to Chicago this year.

English and her mother were given a room at the Hard Rock Hotel. English, a guitar player, was even allowed to check out one of the hotel’s Fender Telecasters.

More than just a nice way to begin her senior year, the whirlwind experience will enable English to become even more serious about the art and animation career she has already started to build.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “I learned so much from this project.”

The lessons she learned were undoubtedly valuable — valuable enough to allow English to buy her own digital art set-up similar to the one she uses in the technical center’s art lab — a Cintiq digital drawing tablet. But perhaps the most valuable lesson she learned in the experience was the importance of considering the context for any project.

English approached the contest by first considering who would be looking at the ad she…

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