May 4, 2016

Digital Arts Classroom

When in Vermont you have to work just to get to work, there’s nothing quite like shoveling three feet of snow in -20 degree weather just to get out of the driveway. Work ethic, cooperation and persistence are defining qualities that are valued in society today.

From the beginning…

January 16th, 1998: Warsaw, New York

Wait, too far.

Summer 2010, was when I first visited the Digital Arts program at Stafford Technical Center in Rutland, Vermont. I had an art class before but nothing like what I experienced there. Creating art on computers fascinated me from the first minute. Sixth grade Elijah, in one afternoon, created an interactive flash animation with a working button!

Export… Play… Burn… Label. This was the beginning.

Unfortunately I could not attend Stafford until my junior year in high school. Anxious to participate in a class devoted to teaching real world skills in the “art world," I maintained a good record and grades with Otter Valley Union High School so that I would be accepted to Stafford Technical Center to get a concentrated education in my favorite field. Nothing a little hard work and determination couldn’t solve. Striving for the goal of being able to get where I wanted to be was what drove me, where every art teacher and guidance counselor told me; I couldn’t, shouldn’t and never will be. But I couldn’t, shouldn’t and never will listen to anyone who tells me I can’t, because against everyone who said I couldn’t, I did.


The drive to be inquisitive, passionate, and balanced makes me to being a better student and worker. Art is a language that we use to communicate a larger idea from strong conceptual process, problem solving, and often working with peers to create something greater than ourselves, for other to enjoy.

When I was 10 years old, I joined my Grange. The Grange is more than just a
fraternal organization, it is an organization that promotes the value of rural
communities and agriculture, and is dedicated to the well being of our
community, state, and country. I am a fourth generation Granger so it is part
of my heritage. As Master of my Junior Grange, I have learned leadership skills
by conducting meetings, organizing fundraising events, and recruiting new
members. Also, as one of the older Junior Grange members I learned the
importance of being a good role model for the younger members and watching out
for them at camp and in the community. As a Subordinate member, I have learned
the value of cooperation, respect, and flexibility by working with members who
have much more experience than me, but also appreciate my help with fresh
ideas. This has taught me that a group of people, despite their differences,
can function in an environment of mutual respect.

I have attended the Digital Arts Program at Stafford Technical Center and am attending Champlain College. Being an artist is something I have always wanted to be when
I grew up, so the program that Stafford Technical Center offered was the
perfect fit for me. I have learned to problem-solve and apply my talents to
real life graphic design needs in the business and non-profit world. I have
also had the opportunity to earn some college credits through the dual
enrollment program with CCV, and participate in an internship at the Chaffee
Art Center. I was the Lead Designer for the Stafford Technical Center Brochure and
was able to use my talents and leadership skills to help back the school that
has helped me so much in reaching my life goals so far.

Being a member of The Grange and a student at Stafford Technical Center and Champlain College has not only taught me all of these valuable lessons, but has given me advantages now that I
am transitioning to adulthood. The Grange and Stafford Technical Center have made
me more prepared to go out into the world with confidence and ability than
someone who does not have these experiences.

During my 6th grade year in elementary school, I attended a summer program at Stafford Technical Center taught by Ms. Karen Kysar. During this week-long camp we learned about digital photography, photo manipulation, and animation using digital cameras and Adobe software. This was a major inspiration to my education and shaped the career path I follow today.

I applied and was accepted into the two-year Digital Arts program at Stafford technical Center, taught by Ms. Kysar during my Junior and Senior year of high school. Currently, I am attending Champlain College, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media due to the knowledge I obtained and the portfolio I was able to build at Stafford Tech.

Without her mentorship and networking, I would not have had the pleasure of working with local graphic designers such as David Townsend and Greg Youkov. With all their guidance, I was able to create outstanding pieces for my design portfolio and help me get on my feet with a personal website to promote myself online.

Having a teacher like Ms. Kysar in my life helped me to become the person I am now and will be in the future. I aspire to help others in the way that Ms. Kysar helped me, and to do so I plan to become an educator just like her.