First-Year Program Gains National Recognition
Stephen Woltz looks like an all-American teenager, but when he steps into the wrestling ring his opponents fear him. With chokeholds and flying leaps, he has made a name for himself on the independent amateur wrestling circuit in North Carolina. Using that same fire and determination, Woltz has also distinguished himself as a student in Halifax County High School’s Graphic Arts class held at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. His original design is featured in the July/August issue of “Layers” magazine.
“Layers” magazine is a national design publication that covers the latest trends in design and the Adobe Creative Suite® programs. Each month the magazine issues a design makeover challenge that presents designers with an opportunity to submit their redesign of existing products. Digital Art & Design Coordinator Ben Capozzi lobbied for the magazine to consider students in his Graphic Arts class as a single design firm that could participate in the challenge, and the magazine agreed. Their challenge was to redesign a CD cover for the blues/rock/jazz multi-instrumentalist Terry Shaw.
“This is 21st-century learning and practice in the classroom,” said Capozzi. “The students had a real-world challenge with no single ‘right’ answer. They had to really think, and that can be frustrating, but they all rose to the challenge,” he said. Former student Stephen Woltz agreed that the experience was a valuable one, “The project was really fun and it was good to do something with an actual client instead of just learning concepts. Working with a client was a really good experience as a designer in the real business world.”
With limited time, the class worked together and individually to create a single design that would be a class entry. Recent Halifax County High School graduate Stephen Woltz’s design was selected to represent the class. “Having my design accepted felt good but it was also unexpected for someone like me without a lot of experience. I was overwhelmed with appreciation,” he said.
Woltz is beginning his freshman year at Virginia Tech where he is majoring in Communication. Woltz’s program of study was directly influenced by SVHEC Digital Art & Design Instructor Ben Capozzi and the dual enrollment Graphic Arts class he took at the SVHEC during his senior year of high school.