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Wednesday, 16 September 2015 14:55

HCC students collaborate to commemorate 50 years

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coverIt isn’t often students in the creative arts program and the high-tech machinery program get to collaborate on a project, but Haywood Community College’s 50th anniversary has brought them together to create one-of-a-kind commemorative pieces.

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The end results are a testament to the varied talents that are found and nurtured through the community college’s wide range of curriculum. While computer-integrated machining students at the Regional High Technology Center used their skills to create a HCC logo stamp and car license plates, students in the clay department at the Creative Arts building created medallions, mugs, plates and platters to commemorate the 50-year milestone. 

The student-produced products will be the awards for runners participating in the college’s Freedlander 5K event the morning of Sept. 19. 

“We needed an award that was different so we decided to make them in house through a collaboration of the business industry programs and the creative arts,” said Katy Gould, director of HCC’s Small Business Center. She added that the final products far exceeded her expectations. 

The teachers were given basic parameters of what was needed, but students were free to put their own spin on the assignment. Gould said it was great to see the creativity come from not only the clay students, but also more unexpectedly from the machinery students. 

“They gave us creative license to do something artistic so we did an array of products that can be created using the Mastercam software,” said Doug Cabe, computer-integrated machining instructor. “This college has the best group of people to work as a team.”

The Mastercam software allows the students to design a product and use a 3-D printer to manufacture it right then and there. The software allowed students to use the new HCC 50th anniversary logo to design a rubber stamp that was used to mark the pottery made by the clay students. 

Taylor Sherrill, a Tuscola High School senior who is dual enrolled in HCC’s machinery class, also used the software to design and develop the car tags for the 5K race prizes. He said the project was a great learning experience, and knowing all the products people will be taking home Sept. 19 were designed by him is extremely satisfying. 

“I learned a lot about machinery — everything in here is compatible,” Sherrill said as he pointed to all the machines in the high tech center. “It also taught me about team work and showed me how this kind of work correlates with the industry.”

Even though Sherrill is still a year away from graduating from high school, he now has a pretty good idea of what he wants to do when he graduates. 

“I’d like to become a machinist — would love to own my own business someday,” he said.

Those words are music to Gould’s ears.

“You come see me when you’re ready,” she told him. 

Over in HCC’s state-of-the-art creative arts building last week, clay students were in the process of finishing their pieces for the race awards, which included different sized commemorative mugs, plates and larger platters.

“It’s been a really good project for my second-year students because it gave them a deadline and specifications from the client but also gave them room for design and creativity,” said clay instructor Terry Gess.

Second-year clay student Ed Rivera said working on the anniversary items helped him better understand the “mass production” process, which is much different than the “one-of-a-kind” art process.

“You make 10 handles at a time and throw 10 mugs and then do all the logos at one time,” he said. “It taught me how to maximize my time.”

Second-year clay student Steve Flowers had never touched clay until he started at HCC. He served in the U.S. Army for 28 years and was looking to do something outside his comfort zone. The 50th anniversary project opened his eyes to a niche market that he may be able to fill after graduation. 

“Doing this gave me some ideas for making commemorative mugs for different units in the military,” Flowers said as he worked another mug on his pottery wheel. “I enjoy making things that can be useful to people.”

One thing is for sure — no matter what place participants take in the Freedlander 5K race this weekend, they won’t walk away disappointed with the prize. The student-produced items will hopefully be something they can hold on to for another 50 years. 

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