Huntingtown High School and Calvert Career and Technology Academy (CTA) student AJ Halsey earned a gold medal in this year’s Graphic imagining sublimation contest held at the 57th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) held in Atlanta, GA on June 20-24th, 2022. Over 6,500 secondary and post-secondary students from across the country competed in 108 different trade, technical and leadership fields. The contests are organized and run through a partnership of industry, labor, and education. The trip to NLSC and Atlanta was not only centered around the competition, but also around opportunities to grow in leadership, professional, communication, and community service skills.
Graphic imaging sublimation is the process of using heat processes to print on a variety of surfaces, including fabrics, ceramics, and plastics. During the competition, Halsey was required to print a design across a series of ceramic tiles, on a “promotional” cell phone holder, and on a cloth facemask. The competition also included a written test, a quality-check performance task, and a job interview.
Halsey stated, “I don’t think I would have been able to do it without Mr. Owens. He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had, and his class has not only been well-paced and comfortable, but a blast. My motivation to compete and go to nationals came from him and I don’t think I would have gotten there if not for him helping me to succeed”.
Halsey’s Graphic Communications instructor, Scott Owens, has been working with students in the graphics program at CTA for 19 years, which follows 14 years as the owner of a local printing business. In his 19 years of teaching, Owens has had two students place fourth at the highly competitive national event but never a gold medalist. “What a thrill it is to see your student on stage receiving the gold, after weeks of practice, studying, and preparation. It’s one of those ‘why I love teaching moments,” said Owens.
Halsey will be a senior in the graphic communications program in the fall and looks forward to the opportunity to return to next year’s championships and repeat this year’s result as well as play an active part in the CTA SkillsUSA chapter by serving as chapter president. For more information about the CTA chapter of SkillsUSA, visit https://cta.calvertnet.k12.md.us/programs/skills-usa.