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Special School District of St. Louis County

Creativity Shows in Graphic
Design Program

Dave Bohannan’s Wall of Fame is a sight to behold. Not only for its visual appeal, but for what it represents.

“The walls here are filled with great art and it inspires students to do great things,” said Bohannan, who is the Graphic Design instructor at North Technical High School. “When others come in here, they’re blown away by this program and can’t wait to get in it.”

One student that has a presence on the wall is Chelsea Buckley, a junior at North Tech. “Chelsea’s awesome,” Bohannan said. “She’s a class leader and always willing to help anyone with questions. She’s quite a standout on my Wall of Fame.”

Although it wasn’t specifically the Wall of Fame that attracted Chelsea to North Tech, she did take note of what the school had to offer her as an aspiring artist.

“What interested me about this school was definitely the graphic design program,” Chelsea said. “I’ve been drawing for 14 years—since I could pick up a pencil.”

Well beyond working with a pencil now, Chelsea is progressing through the curriculum that teaches students how to use Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. However, the class does start at the most basic level.

“We start with just pencil and paper before you work your way to the computers,” Chelsea said. “At first we work on learning how to draw the human body.”

“I begin with the basics because some students come in with little or no drawing experience,” said Bohannan, who tries to tailor his class to the needs of his students. “We do a lot of anatomical studies because many of our students want to be video game designers and animators. They need to know the human body and the movement of muscles. We work a lot with shading and light sources—that’s something you’ll use your whole career.”

Chelsea is no exception. Her initial plan was to go into video game design. But currently, she has her sights set on the Art Institute of Chicago.

“I want to go to Chicago,” she said. “Eventually I want to design clothes and T-shirts, and start my own business as well.”

Chelsea and her Graphic Design program classmates receive a unique hands-on education that equips them better for the next level of education.

“They’re miles ahead,” Bohannan said. “Because they’ve already learned all the basics.”

Although only a junior, Chelsea is already laying the groundwork for post-secondary success. When she isn’t competing at SkillsUSA or with the North Tech soccer team, she is active in the Saturday Bridge Program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, an academic skills workshop program.

Chelsea Buckley
Chelsea Buckley

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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