Centennial Poster Competition – Winners Announced!

In celebration of ACICS’ 100 years of providing excellence in education, students of ACICS-accredited colleges and schools were invited to submit designs for the agency’s commemorative Centennial poster competition. More than 80 entries were submitted from students across the nation.

The first, second, and third place winners are profiled below:

Centennial Poster Winner

100 Years of Quality: Making the Transition Between Education and the Workforce
Clayton Stewart – Westwood College, Houston South Campus (Houston, Texas)

Clayton Stewart, a student enrolled in the Visual Communications program at Westwood College’s Houston South Campus has won the ACICS Centennial poster competition with his design, “100 Years of Quality: Making the Transition from Education to the Workforce.” Stewart created the winning design among more than 80 entries submitted by students from more than 50 ACICS-accredited colleges and schools. The 21-year-old full-time student will finish his bachelor’s degree at Westwood in 2012. Stewart’s winning entry earned him a $1,000 cash prize plus an opportunity to be recognized at the ACICS centennial gala in Las Vegas in November. His design will be reproduced and distributed to more than 900 member institutions to be exhibited during the 2012 calendar year.

To create the poster, Stewart used Adobe Illustrator, a digital program he learned in his classes at Westwood College. His preferred design software packages are Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

“A lot of what I learned in my Illustrator class helped me to draw the figures, and a design layout class also helped me learn about composition, making the artwork centered,” Stewart said.

His design was an early favorite among the 15 Council members who juried the poster entries. It was praised for its professional and simple design and its clear message.

Stewart was surprised and appreciative to hear that he won. “I like keeping my work simple, and not to put too much stuff in it… just get to the point to make it easy for people to understand,” he said. “I wanted to illustrate the transition from education to workforce. First I designed the 100 year element; then, I came up with the idea of two silhouetted figures, one being the student with a backpack, and the other person with a suitcase – a business person – to symbolize the workforce.”  

Stewart thanked his teacher, Torelen Winbush, who encouraged the entire class to create posters. “I like the school. They have really good teachers.”

Stewart had 12 students in his class, and appreciates the small classes at Westwood. “The teacher can have hands-on time to teach, instead of [us] being in a class filled with a lot of students where the teacher never talks to you.” He chose to study at Westwood College because it has an accelerated program and it is close to his home. Stewart wants to continue his education with a focus on videogame design.



Poster Contest - 2nd Place

Road to Transition
Michael Fitzgerald – Anthem Institute (Springfield, Pennsylvania)
Second Place

Michael Fitzgerald, runner-up in the competition, said he never thought he would finish in the top three.   He is 25 years old and is studying full-time toward a certificate in Graphic Design at Anthem Institute.

His coursework includes typography, fundamentals of design, foundation and drawing, color theory, and computer courses. He holds a B.A. from Temple University and has studied brand design and brand development.

In describing his design, Fitzgerald said “everyone in the class was focusing on the 100 years, but I thought the quality education part was more important. I wanted to show graduates looking into the future. I left the right-top of the picture blank, because you don’t know what is out there.”

“There are plenty of opportunities,” he said. “Once you graduate with a quality education, you can pretty much do anything you want. The future is a blank piece of paper.” 

Fitzgerald decided to create a visual theme with cars from different periods to illustrate the road to transition, from education to the workforce, from 1912 to the present. “You see the shift in cars, the shift in how people are dressed for the business world,” he said.

Using mixed media to create his poster, Fitzgerald started by painting four pictures by hand on a Bristol board using a set of 48 Prisma Colored Premier Art markers, which gave him a wide variety of colors. He then photographed the paintings, transferred them to the computer, cropped the photos and added the black background and the text.

Fitzgerald said that studying at Anthem Institute is giving him the technical training he is looking for.  “I like the school a lot. When I compare regular college versus technical school, I feel I get a lot more one-on-one input with the teacher here. The effort that I put into the poster reflects the effort that the teachers put into teaching. It was nice to work with my teacher, Ken Rementer, who also is an accomplished graphic designer, and to apply graphics to the poster and learn from him. He gave me compliments and instructions on how I could make things better.”

“You also work with other students. They teach you things and you teach them things. It is a great environment to really learn. Eventually I will be one of those graduates looking into the future. I will have the quality education that everybody else gets.”

Fitzgerald viewed the poster competition as “professional practice, in the sense that you put your effort in, you’re practicing the process, there is a deadline and you have to get the job in.”
Drawing is something Fitzgerald said he has always been good at, and it is what makes him happy. “If I can work in a job that I love, to draw and create things for people, I couldn’t be happier.”


Poster Contest - 3rd Place

Workforce iPad: ACICS Edition
Raul Pastor Lopez – John Dewey College (Hato Rey, Puerto Rico)
Third Place

Third place was awarded to Raul A. Lopez, a 22-year-old first generation full-time student at John Dewey College in Puerto Rico. He is working to earn an associate’s degree in graphic arts.

Lopez’s poster design was inspired by Steve Jobs and the iPad, and the icons on the tablet represent career programs at ACICS-accredited institutions. He created the poster by using Adobe Illustrator, a program he learned to use in his classes at John Dewey College.

Lopez said he always liked design as a child. He was raised by his aunt who is a designer and was a key influence on his development as an artist. The road to success has not always been easy for him, as he lives in an area that has undergone economic hardship, has significant high school drop-out rates, violence, and even homicide. While many of Lopez’s friends have died, he says these tragedies have motivated him to stay in school and finish his degree.

John Dewey College and its teachers have been supportive and helped Lopez develop his talents while finishing his high school degree. His teacher, Vanessa San Emeterio, encouraged her students to participate in the contest, turning the competition into a research and design project about education. 

William Ubinas, the School Chancellor, said he “jumped up and down upon hearing the news of Raul’s placement in the contest. The good news was passed on to administrators, teachers and students. The reaction was very positive, just what we needed in Puerto Rico. This was such an added thing for us.”

Lopez’s fellow students at John Dewey College shared in the celebration, and have been motivated by his success as well. He now wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in web design and eventually work for a public relations firm in Puerto Rico.