Six Pickerington High School North students recently qualified to showcase their web-based design projects at a national conference to be held in Indianapolis later this month.
From April 30 through May 4, approximately 5,000 high school students and advisers from throughout the U.S. will put their business and leadership skills to test at the 2014 Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference in Indianapolis.
Those who will take part in the event earned the right to do so by finishing in the top three of various contest categories -- ranging from website design to advanced word processing and PC servicing and troubleshooting -- in their respective states.
North multimedia students Ben Bond, Grace Denunzio, Maria George, Brad Howes, Adam Ogden and Logan Sheets will be among those competing at the conference, after receiving high marks for web-related and desktop publishing projects at the BPA's Ohio conference, held last month in Columbus.
"The 2014 National Leadership Conference will offer four exciting days of competitions, leadership development workshops, national officer elections, fantastic tours and much more," said Douglas Rider, North's multimedia instructor.
"From a program standpoint, we've been fortunate enough to advance to the national conference in nine out of 11 years.
"I'm really proud of this graduating class. This is the first time in eight years that we've qualified for nationals in three different events. I expect some big things from these students when they finish their college years and begin their careers."
Multimedia is a two-year program of Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools that is located at North.
Rider said multimedia students learn to combine creativity with technical skills to produce experiences focused on the design and development of websites.
Students learn web design, video production, photography, motion graphics, and graphic design, he said.
"Multimedia is two periods a day and incorporates numerous real-world, project-based learning opportunities," Rider said.
"Each year, sophomores can apply for acceptance into the program for their junior and senior years."
As for the students who qualified for the national conference, Howes, George, Denunzio and Sheets were part of a team that finished second in Ohio in website design.
Their site can be viewed at http://alternativeenergyhome.us.
"The objective was to create a website that allowed the public to find information on changing from regular energy to an alternative energy source for their homes -- solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal," said Howes, a senior at North and the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical School who plans to start his own web-development company after graduation.
"Users can find info on why they should switch, along with information on how to fund it."
Denunzio, also a senior, said the project seeks to provide alternative energy solutions for homeowners, but also caters to her interests, which she plans to parlay into a business degree at Ohio State University.
"I'm interested in multimedia because I enjoy the productive atmosphere in which I can learn sought-after skills in the job markets related to these areas of design," she said.
"I was really excited when we learned out placement because it meant that we get to compete at nationals."
Fellow senior, George, will attend the University of Findlay to pursue a career in equine veterinary medicine, said multimedia is an outlet for her.
"Multimedia is a place where I can express my creativity and I can express it throughout my work," she said.
"I was very proud and excited for our group's accomplishments.
"I'm someone who pushes for the next step in any competition so as soon as we stepped off of the stage I wanted to better our work for the nationals."
Sheets, also a senior, said the group brought their individual skills together - her's and George's as web designers, Howes as the resident code pro and Denunzio, who addressed site presentation and management - to develop a polished product.
She plans to use skills learned in Rider's class as she moves on to study graphic design at Savannah College of Art and Design.
"We all really put in a lot of effort and worked well as a team," Sheets said.
"I love multimedia because the class is really close like a family.
"We learn a lot of useful stuff we can use in our future jobs, but we also have a lot of fun.
"Mr. Rider is one of the best teachers I've ever had. I like graphic design a lot, so building this website was a way for me to use my design skills."
Ogden, a senior who plans to study video production at Ohio University next year, placed third in Ohio in "Digital Design using InDesign."
That competition sought to evaluate knowledge and skills in using industry-standard desktop publishing software to create a variety of business documents, Ogden said.
"They had me create a six-page spread of a magazine and a half-page invitation, all in Adobe InDesign," he said.
"A few months ago, I knew little about InDesign, but with Mr. Rider's help I became proficient in the program, and now I really enjoy working with it.
"With it being a new competition, I didn't know how well I would do at this level and I was ecstatic to learn that I was among the best in the state," Ogden said.
"I went to nationals last year competing in 'Fundaments of Web Design' and I had a blast. I loved meeting so many different people from all over the country.
"I expect this year to be just as much fun, if not more."
Not to be left out was Bond, a senior who plans to pursue a double major in data science and computer science at Northern Kentucky University.
He placed fourth in Fundamentals of Web Design, which was good enough to advance.
"This competition consists of a multiple-choice test focusing on web design principles," Bond said.
"It also features a part where I have to code a web page to replicate the mockup they provide for us.
"This competition requires knowledge of the markup language HTML and the styling language CSS," he said.
"Everyone has a favorite class in school; one they look back on as a defining moment that shapes the path to a future career.
"Multimedia has provided me with many of these moments and has allowed me to be creative," Bond said.
"It has also provided me the opportunity to learn things I was unaware of before entering the program."