Midland Trail Elementary School students Jackson and Hayden Simile display the designed shirts they wore during the annual Great Outdoor Learning Adventure (GOLA).

MONTGOMERY — For the past two years, an assignment in WVU Tech’s graphic design courses has given the students the opportunity to have their work used in the real world, and displayed by over 250 children, teachers and parents.

The WVU Tech students are given the challenge of designing a t-shirt to be worn by students at Midland Trail Elementary School on their annual Great Outdoor Learning Adventure (GOLA). The event is a fun day of outdoor activities in art, crafts, science, physical education and more.

Dyann Simile, adjunct faculty at WVU Tech, had the idea of the assignment last year because her two youngest sons attend Midland Trail.

“The shirt design needed to be fun and communicate the idea behind the event. I thought it would fit well into our curriculum, and give the students at the elementary school shirts they would want to wear again and again.”

Students in graphic design at Tech work on assignments dealing with expressive typography, computer-drawn graphics and design appropriateness for specific audiences. The t-shirts designs are a way to apply what they have learned about these principles of graphic design into one assignment.

After learning about the GOLA event, the activities and the school itself, the Tech students worked on rough ideas and critiqued each other’s concepts. They submitted their finalized designs to the teachers and principal at Midland Trail.

Last year the Midland Trail faculty selected a design by Mark Neil. Neil was a senior in the interdisciplinary studies program with an emphasis in graphic design and printing at WVU Tech. He graduated in 2005 and is from Gauley Bridge.

This year WVU Tech senior Allison Aurentz’s design was selected for the shirts.

“It was a tough decision and we may end up using some of this year’s submissions in future years because there were so many good ones,” said Beth Grass, teacher at Midland Trail Elementary. The selected design is printed on nine different color shirts and the students are divided into groups by shirt color for the day’s activities.

Aurentz graduated this year from WVU Tech with a bachelor’s degree in printing management and a minor in graphic design. She is from Fayetteville.

Graphic design is offered at WVU Tech through the interdisciplinary studies Degree. Students use computer software including Adobe Photoshop, ImageReady, Illustrator, and InDesign to complete their assignments in print and web/animation assignments. Classes art taught in the printing electronic publishing lab.

For more information on graphic design at WVU Tech, contact Bob Simile at rsimile@

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