Poughkeepsie CTI Student Designs BOCES Holiday Card & Gains Work Experience

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – District Superintendent Richard Hooley wants BOCES programs to be part of the community. One small way to make that happen, he thought, was to ‘hire’ students from the Graphic Arts program at the Career and Technical Institute (CTI) to design the holiday card. The card is sent to every BOCES superintendent in New York, every school principal and superintendent in Dutchess County, and every school district in Ulster, Sullivan, and Orange counties, about 700 in all.

Typically, they give us the scope of what they’re looking for – an all-encompassing spirit of the season. They want it to have the feel, but not be geared to a religion,” said teacher Stephen Lawson. This year, the class had a week to complete the project.

Poughkeepsie High School senior Belladona “Billie” Rodriguez’s design was chosen from the student submissions this year.

I had no clue what I wanted to do at first,” she said. “I tried different iterations with snowflakes, an evergreen tree. By the time I went home, I still wasn’t sure what I was doing.” Inspiration struck as she thought about the season and her life.

One of my favorite things to do is to get cocoa with my family, so I ended up sketching mugs and came up with this,” said Ms. Rodriguez. She sketched out thumbnails on paper before turning to her iPad for the actual design and text.

It was a winning decision. “If you look at her picture, it’s so simple, yet it prominently displays who we are with our logo,” said Dr. Hooley. “It’s beautiful in its simplicity, but the detail is cool. You’ve got steam coming up, marshmallows in the cocoa, and snowflakes – it gives you that warm feeling.”

Ms. Rodriguez said she learned lessons because the project was treated as a job. “While we have deadlines, they’re more lenient,” she said. “Here, it was more stringent and it was a little stressful. I learned time management and how to work under pressure.”

According to Mr. Lawson, throughout the process, the class does an open critique of each students’ work to offer suggestions and improvements. The critiques and presentations help to strengthen the students’ ability to work with clients. “It develops their confidence in talking about their work in a way that is deeper than, ‘I did it because I liked it,’ ” he said.