If you want to get students prepared for the real world, you have to give them real-world experiences.
The full-functioning, student-run print shop at Ben Barber Innovation Academy is doing just that for MISD students.
Blue FX gives students a real look into the world of graphic design and production. On one side of the shop, students create designs. On the other, the designs are printed out.
One of the newest features of the shop is an industry-standard automatic screen printer, which allows students to print up to 400 shirts per hour. Graphics design teacher Brandon Buckner said it is a game changer.
“We’re the first school in North America to actually have one of these machines, so we’re pioneers in that way,” said Buckner.
The new Roqdry Evolution machine has leading-edge technology that major companies use. Students said they feel like they have an edge on other students nationwide.
“It feels really special to know that we’re the first out there with this screen printing press and able to do the stuff that the big time places like Nike does with their kind of T-shirts,” said Cainon Neal, senior at Lake Ridge High School. “We can just do it here, make it ourselves and then distribute it among Mansfield. It’s really nice.”
The purpose of Blue FX is to give students the practical skills they need to create and print designs, but Buckner said he wants to also instill an entrepreneurial mindset in each of the kids.
Students are the ones who come up with the quotes, charges and marketing plan for the shop.
“My vision is that students are coming out of here with plans to build their own business day one after they graduate or create a business right here where they have me as a mentor teaching them through how to run a business, so that they can be successful after they leave here,” Buckner explained.
Blue FX services all Mansfield ISD schools and departments. Students are able to create a design from scratch or use a logo that is given to them to complete the orders.
The shop is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, email email@example.com.