Printing Industries Association of Southern California (PIASC)

Winners Take Home Scholarships, Local Schools Benefit in LA

Aman Azad of Canoga Park High School placed first in the third and final round of the 23rd Technical and Academic Challenge sponsored by the Printing Industries of Southern California’s RAISE Foundation. His efforts earned him a $1,000 Katie Denne cash scholarship and his school the choice of an iMac or a Mac Pro with monitors and speakers. The event was held at the PIASC’s Top Management Network—an event for owners and managers and program students—at Tamayo’s Restaurant in Los Angeles on May 19.

South Pasadena High School’s Ilse Colmenares finished second; El Camino Real High School’s Janar Bauirjan took third; and Ashley Bonilla from Venice High School placed fourth. All received cash scholarships and their schools received cash vouchers for supplies.

The annual Technical and Academic Competition for Southern California high school graphic arts students is an industry supported effort to attract and encourage graphic arts students. A separate competition also grants cash scholarship awards to area college students. These programs are even more vital today than in the past given cuts to education funding at all levels.

The high school program consists of three rounds: a Technical Project; a Written Test, and the Academic Challenge. This year the Academic Challenge, a Jeopardy-like game played by the top four winners of the first two rounds, demanded a depth of knowledge in a variety of disciplines. Reflecting the evolution of graphic arts programs, students were questioned not only on printing projects but a variety of multimedia topics. For example, computer technology, social media, and variable data were categories this year. Mark Barbour, Executive Director and Curator of the International Printing Museum, Carson, served as the “game show host.”

“The Technical and Academic Challenge gives added appeal to area graphic arts programs. The final event gives industry employers a chance to see their future workforce in action,” said Susan Kinney, president of Castle Press, Pasadena, and PIASC Education Chair. “There’s value for all participants.”

In addition to the high school Challenge, students also entered a project competition to design a tie t-shirt. The tie t-shirts were judged in two categories: Best Design and Best Production. Winning schools received cash awards.

Finally, for graphic arts students in college programs, this year’s project was to design a vehicle wrap promoting the effectiveness and value of print. Marvin Sesuca, Riverside College won the first place award; Hassaam Mahmood, Fullerton College was second, and Arash Sharifi, West Valley Occupational Center took third place. All received cash awards.

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