PARIS — Students in Virginia Valdes’ graphic design program at Oxford Hills Technical School are going places. And they are winning awards, recognition, and competitions along the way.

Seven graphic designers won top awards 2019 SkillsUSA Maine State Championships held in Bangor on March 8 and 9. They will represent the State of Maine at the National SkillsUSA Championships, which will be held June 24-28, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Gold Medals were awarded to Sage Croteau, Photography; Team D (Lara Jenson, Culiandra Nero and Alexis Sprague), Promotional Bulletin Board; Emily Landsperg, State T-shirt Design; and Caylum Campbell Fitzgerald and Brian Williams, 3D Visualization and Animation.

Oxford Hills Technical School graphic design students Culiandra Nero and Lara Jenson display the promotional bulletin board they will present at the National SkillsUSA Championships in Kentucky next week. Advertiser Democrat photo by Dee Menear

Jenson and Nero said their promotional bulletin board follows the assigned theme: SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, Career-Ready Starts Here.

“Our board shows that skills needed to succeed in a career,” said Jenson. “Everyone needs personal, technical and workplace skills.”

“We can move the skills around to show that not everyone develops them in the same order,” said Nero. “Some people might gain technical skills before personal skills. They are all needed no matter what order they are developed.”

Emily Landsperg’s t-shirt design won first place at the 2019 SkillsUSA Maine State Championships. Her design will be featured on shirts worn by Maine representatives at the upcoming national competition. Submitted photo

Landsperg’s t-shirt design was carefully thought out using local elements, purposeful color and inspiration from another designer.

“Milton Glaser’s I love New York design was a big inspiration,” Landsperg said. “It’s loved by tourists and the heart will make Mainer’s feel at home.”

A lobster is the focal point of her mainly-red design. “Maine lobster is a specialty and a common delicious summer food,” she said “I needed red for my design because you can’t have lobster without it.”

The design features a blue star, which is also featured on the state flag. White, she said, unifies the design.

“The red, white and blue combinations weren’t an accident,” she said. “Mainers have as much pride in their nation as they do their state.”

All Maine representatives will wear a t-shirt with Landsperg’s design, said Valdes.

Croteau’s winning photograph was taken during an evening photography trip to the Fryeburg Fair.

Sage Croteau earned a gold medal the 2019 SkillsUSA Maine State Championships with her photograph, earning her a spot in the national competition. Sage Croteau photo

“Sage took a photograph of her girlfriend against an array of midway game prizes,” Valdes said. “Her sunglasses reflect the light of the ferris wheel.”

Students are responsible for funding the trip to the national competition.

“Most of the students are fully funded by we are always fundraising,” said Valdes. “Every year we have a lot of students win and they struggle to find funds.”

To help with expenses, students designed a calendar, which they do annually.

“Students learn design, printing, layout, binding and selling,” said Valdes.

Graphic design students also placed well at the Maine Region Scholastic Art Awards held at Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, Portland in February. Croteau and Riley Taylor earned Gold Key awards for photography and Sprague took top honors for digital illustration. Winners had their work displayed at the State House, Valdes said.

Students in other technical programs also earned gold medals at the SkillsUSA Maine competition and will travel to Kentucky with the graphic design team.  They are: Travis May, Collision Damage Appraisal; Kobe Bernard, Collision Repair Technician; Meredith Mathieu and Megan Mitchell, Digital Cinema Production; and Alex Runci, Heavy Equipment Operations.

OHTS students earning silver medals at states were: Julia Bruce, Advertising Design, Related Technical Math, Thomasina Lester, and Morgan Arseneault, Welding Sculpture. Bronze medal winners were Cameron Brockett, Collision Repair Technician; Sam Billings, Collision Repair Tool Identification; and Sierra Barker, Welding Sculpture.