With the flare of a flash strobe and the whirr of a camera shutter, Isabel Vreeland’s head-and-shoulders photograph was taken and sent to a waiting Lancaster County Career and Technology (LCCTC) Visual Communications student. For the next several minutes, Adrianna Wright, an LCCTC Visual Arts student from Garden Spot, processed, filtered, recomposed, and otherwise tweaked into a colorful, Pop Art comic version of Isabel’s portrait.
“This is really cool!” Vreeland, an LCCTC student in Intro to Visual Communications, Willow Street campus, exclaimed. “I love how the image turned out!”
Vreeland’s portrait and several other visual communications activity centers were featured at the annual Susquehanna Litho Club Student Night, held on February 27 at the LCCTC Brownstown campus. The Litho Club’s Student Night is one of the organization’s marquee events, this year drawing more than 150 students and business representatives from counties in the south central PA region and into Maryland.
Heaven Renninger, a student from Berwick School District in Columbia County, said that she really enjoyed the activities that the various LCCTC Visual Communications programs presented, including screen printing and laser etching, Photoshop work, html website coding and website creation, photo portraiture, and more. She said that she likes working with Photoshop, an industry-standard image-editing software package, and that the Pop Art portrait appealed to her.
“What I enjoy doing most with Photoshop is manipulating the images, fixing blemishes, correcting eye color and skin tones, that sort of stuff,” Renninger said. “But what I saw them doing with the Pop Art portrait was really cool, using filters to create the pattern of a comic book and stuff like that. There were techniques that they used that I can also use for some of my own projects.”
Alexis Gresh, a student from Bloomsburg Area School District in Columbia County, was interested in the equipment that was in use and on display at the activity stations.
“I enjoyed the laser etching and watching it carve the corners off of the screen printed coasters. All of the specialized equipment that we saw during the industry tour earlier and here at the LCCTC is really amazing,” Gresh said.
This year’s Student Night event included a tour of the Standard Group, a print management and marketing logistics company in Lititz, PA, dinner, and a panel discussion featuring current visual communications students and former students who were now working in the industry, sharing their professional pathways and advice for career success.
“During Student Nights, we usually tour a local business in the print or communications industry,” said Donna Painter, Susquehanna Litho Club Recording Secretary and one of the organizers of the evening’s event. “That tour is followed by presentations and activities at a local school or career and technology center with a printing curriculum.” She added that the Susquehanna Litho Club has tight ties to the Lancaster County CTC. Two members of their Board of Directors are instructors at the center – Randy Hess, Introduction to Visual Communications, and Dan McCauley, Digital Design and Print Media, both at Brownstown Campus.
Painter continued saying that one of the things that she values about Student Night is connecting what Visual Communications students are doing in the classroom with the same skills that they see professionals using during the activities and tour.
“The students are shocked when they see, with their own eyes, the skills that they are learning in Visual Communications classes are the exact same skills that professionals are using out in the real world, just at a different scale,” Painter said.
Another Susquehanna Litho Club Board Member, Mike Brady, explained that the Litho Club events and the Student Night in particular is a look forward into the future of Visual Communications and an effort to invest in the next generation of printers, binders, digital designers, photographers, and anyone in Visual Communications.
“I remember coming to the Litho Club’s Student Night back in the 90s as a student myself,” Brady said. “We hope to create a lasting impression on students and show them the possibilities within a career in Visual Communications.”
The Susquehanna Litho Club is a social and philanthropic organization, established in 1959, that works to create awareness of the printing and visual communications industry in the region. The club organizes several business-sponsored events throughout the year that range from fundraisers at local sports franchises to industry tours, networking sessions, and student nights. During the student night events, students from schools and career and technology centers from around the area are sponsored by participating businesses.