Graphics or Printing is one of my passions. During my career I have been fortunate to have years of education [BS] and a career of diverse positions in the printing industry. One of the major influencers of this passion was the teachers at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School’s Print Shop. Mr. Chapman, Mr. Clune and Mr. Dodd were influential in my vocation, and secondary education. These teachers cared about printing and their students.
The print shop was important to the city since it supplied the printing needs of the school department as well as the city of Springfield. Work was abundant in the shop and it allowed students to learn the trade in a hands on practical way. The teachers knew the trade. The teachers had diverse backgrounds from being experienced in the industry to being an RIT graduate, which happens to be my alma mater.
This was a great educational experience. The press room was always busy with as many as 7 presses/duplicators running at any given time thus giving the students practical experience. The shop had several hand-fed clam shells, a Heidelberg Windmill, Miele Vertical, AB Dick 350, 360, Multi-Graphics, and a Heidelberg Korg. The press room was run by Mr. Dodd who also worked as a pressman after hours which allowed him to stay current.
A student was able to utilize co-op in their junior year and students who excelled were able to work summers printing the school handbook for the coming year. Some may say most of this is repetitive work, however, when training repetition is important.
Last month I walked into the Graphics Department and I was very pleased. I walked into the pressroom and my senses came alive with the unique smells you experience in an active working pressroom. I experienced students cutting paper, running a large folder [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/Ts_WgflXZRo ], not a desk top, manning the customer service counter and preparing files to print. When talking with the teachers I was aware they loved and knew printing [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/V7SIYiDd484 ]. Seeing the department’s awards wall [click hyperlink to see video http://youtu.be/hFygvg7oer8 ] I was doubly aware the teachers were sharing this knowledge with the students. Unfortunately I wasn’t in Putnam, Springfield’s Vocational High School Graphic Department.
Buck Upson and I toured the Graphic’s Department at Worcester Technical High School, http://portal.techhigh.us/Pages/default.aspx. It reminded me of when I attended vocational school. The shop handles 15,000 to 20,000 print jobs per year. What an experience! Worcester, MA, should be proud!
For Springfield, MA students to have the same experience changes must be made in the Graphics department, which I am working to improve. To do so, I need assistance from parents, union officials, school committee members, Springfield MA city officials, school department members and industry leaders. Will you help? E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org