Career Center Student's Design Chosen for Safe Sober T-Shirts
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By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
MARCH 15, 2019 – Angelina Rice has a free period before her Graphic Design class at the Career Center. She likes to work on her designs so much that she regularly comes in early and spends her free period in the classroom, said teacher Stephanie Messer.
On Friday, that dedication and focus – and her creativity – paid off when Rice learned that her design had been chosen for the 2019 Safe Sober Prom Night T-shirts.
Messer and the students in the class learned that she had won when Deadpool and Spider-Man burst into the classroom, followed by the mayor of Winston-Salem, the chair of the Forsyth County Commissioners, the chief of the Winston-Salem Police Department, three judges, a member of the school board, a member of the N.C. National Guard, the principal of the Career Center, the principal of her home school – Walkertown High - and others.
There to share in the excitement were Rice’s grandparents, Dwayne and Sharon Tart, and the Rev. Bruce Updyke, the minister of the family’s church – Love’s United Methodist in Walkertown.
The surprise was organized by the law firm of Daggett Shuler, which has been sponsoring the annual contest for 29 years now. Rice’s design will be printed on 15,000 Safe Sober Prom Night T-shirts distributed to 50 high schools in the Triad.
This is the 10th year in a row that a student in one of Messer’s classes won the contest.
Messer gave her students credit for that streak.
“I am only as good as my students,” she said. “We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have such good, talented students.”
Student Riley Cornatzer, whose home high school is Reagan, said much of the credit should go to Messer.
She is an excellent teacher, Cornatzer said. “She is so passionate about everything she does.”
And the way Messer treats everyone is an integral part of what makes her such a good teacher.
“We see her as someone we are comfortable speaking with,” Cornatzer said.
David Daggett and Griff Shuler presented Messer with a check for $500 to use for class supplies. Along with the honor of having her design printed on so many T-shirts, Rice received a $500 college scholarship.
Rice’s design was one of about 200 entries. When the judges looked at the entries, they didn’t know who submitted them. So they had no way of knowing that, yet again, they were choosing one of Messer’s students as the winner.
While everyone was waiting in the Career Center office before heading upstairs for the surprise, the Tarts and Updyke talked about Rice.
The Tarts have raised her since she was three weeks old.
“She has been a blessing to raise,” Dwayne Tart said.
“She is artistic and outgoing,” Sharon Tart said.
“They have raised her in a very positive manner – challenged and encouraged her,” Updyke said.
The family is quite active in the church. Rice sings in one of the church choirs and has helped in the after-school and summer programs.
So that they could be there for the surprise, the people at Daggett Shuler had let them know about it beforehand. Not saying anything was rough, Sharon Tart said.
“I should get an award for not blabbing,” she said.
Once everyone headed upstairs and the surprise was sprung, Rice’s classmates talked about how much they appreciate her as a person and for her talent.
“She is very kind, friendly,” Cornatzer said.
“She is very sweet and kind-hearted,” said Melanie Calan, whose home high school is North Forsyth. “Her ideas are unique.”
“I think she is really ambitious and creative,” said Josie Martin, whose home school is Glenn. “She has a really positive outlook on her designs.”
“All of her designs look happy and cheery.”
Rice is a senior. Her current plan calls for going to Guilford Technical Community College next year and majoring in graphic design. From there, she might transfer to Appalachian State University.
She envisions a career in which she would design logos, as well as such items for businesses as cards and brochures.
Rice is already doing design work for some people she knows. She is doing a logo for someone who is starting a business. Her ideas for designs begin to come to her as she is talking to the person and other ideas emerge later.
She likes “retro” designs, she said, and – not counting the 2019 on the Safe Sober T-shirt design – she thinks of it as something that could have been designed in the 1970s.
Rice enjoys doing art on her own. The household includes three cats – Twinkee, Lelo, and Stitch.
Her life at church and her grandparents mean a lot to her.
“I wouldn’t be here today without them,” she said. “They raised me. I am very grateful.”
With the possibility of making it 10 years in a row for Messer’s class, Rice said, she was hoping that someone from the class would win. But she had no idea it would be her.