New Look at West Ward

High school design students give school new look.
By: Todd Martin
An elementary school principal’s desire to update the building’s look led to a high school digital graphics class and a creative, eye-catching display.
A group of Killeen ISD Career Center seniors installed colorful, snazzy window clings at the front of West Ward Elementary School displaying the Wildcat mascot and welcoming students and guests into the building.
The students designed, printed and installed the clings, which are large, sturdy stickers now on display at the front of the elementary school.
The third-year digital graphics students also designed a series of banners now displayed in the school cafeteria, on a wall outside of the cafeteria and on a hallway wall.
West Ward Principal Tammy Thornhill smiled widely Thursday as the high school students pealed their products onto the front windows in the school’s entrance vestibule. Students returned Friday to finish the job.
Career Center teacher Duane Robinson also expressed pride in his students’ excited, diligent work on the project.
Helping a local school and providing a real-life project with a client, a deadline and a creative challenge made for a perfect match.
“The school contacted us and asked for help to create a new culture here with more of a college feel,” Robinson explained.
Thornhill, in her first year as principal at West Ward said she wanted to bring a more modern look to the school’s interior.
The new visual elements are more in line with what you would expect on a high school or college campus.
Vertical banners on either side of the West Ward cafeteria stage include a large Wildcat emblem with the words “You Can Do This” and “Never Give Up.”
The banner across the cafeteria entrance says “Wildcats Yes You Can.”
A vertical banner in a hallway says “Wildcats Stand Tall and Proud” and includes a ruler measuring from the floor to 5 feet high.
The front entrance messages say “Now Entering Wildcat Nation,” “Rise and Shout, The Wildcats Are Out!” and “Wildcats One Team One Dream.”
The design work was a team effort that included morning and afternoon practicum students.
“We brainstormed ideas and combined ideas,” senior Maria Salinas said.
“We get to do a lot of projects, but to get to put this up and see it is great,” she said. “Wow, we did that. It’s really cool to put up our own designs.”
Students worked with the principal as professional designers work with clients. They helped come up with the window clings that allow viewers to see only vaguely what’s on the other side. The designs are not visible from the inside looking out.
“Students designed it, printed it and cut it and now they get to install it,” Robinson said. “I like that they are getting to work on site with limited time and the supplies we could bring. That makes it conducive to what it’s like in real life.”
“I wanted an updated, modern look and it tickles me that it was done by students,” Thornhill said. “I love that KISD allows opportunities like this for students to create. We want to foster an environment where kids want to come back and help.”