November 27, 2023
By MEALAND RAGLAND-HUDGINS
Rutherford County Schools
Students in the honors-level Digital Arts and Design class at Siegel High School are working to make the winter holidays brighter for area families while preparing for a statewide contest.
They recently participated in the holiday market held at the Mid-TN Expo Center to sell items made in class, such as notepads, tote bags, mugs and socks, as a fundraiser for the annual SkillsUSA competition in Chattanooga for students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs.
This week, they’ll be putting the final touches on two photo sets for community portrait sessions Dec. 2-3.
“We’ve done it for three years and each year, the students get more creative,” teacher Sarah Potts said. “They come up with the ideas and mock up their vision for the set in Photoshop to show me and then we get to work.”
Senior Salem Hanson created a video to advertise this year’s portrait sessions. Spots are available at a cost of $30 per family.
To register for Saturday, visit https://gofan.co/event/1234245?schoolId=TN55501
To register for Sunday, visit https://gofan.co/event/1234255?schoolId=TN55501
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Students will be behind the camera and are responsible for editing the photos prior to delivery.
“We’re working really hard to get the students out in the community because we want people to see what the kids are doing and support their work,” Potts said.
Shailyn Wright is treasurer of Siegel’s SkillsUSA chapter and said her classmates take pride in what they design. Many of the items sold at markets or in school vending machines are accompanied by a signed card.
“We want to give credit to the artist because that’s important,” Wright said.
The club has grown from about nine students three years ago to 40-plus today.
“I was the only freshman in that group and everyone else was a senior. If it wasn’t for SkillsUSA, I wouldn’t be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but now I have the confidence to do that,” Wright said. “I hope even more people join next year.”
The 2023 SkillsUSA competition was attended by more than 1,800 students participating in 110 events showcasing trade, technical and leadership. Siegel High sent about a half-dozen students to that contest at an average cost of about $500 each.
“This class is just as much about the creative aspect as it is learning how to market yourself and your work. If you can master the soft skills, you can get yourself in the door,” Potts added.