Wednesday, September 25, 2013

5 Myths About the Skills Center & Register! Best. School Year. Ever.

Ember by Robert Simpson, Skills Center and Port Angeles High School Student

I also included an info sheet that Ron Craig, the director of the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center and I put together called the "5 Myths About The Skills Center." Scroll down for the article...


Here are some fun things that I'm lining up for the school year.

  • Special Event planning - the tentative theme for this year is "Steam Punk Halloween"
  • Professional Artist studio visits - starting with Jackson Smart - muralist and sign painter
  • 2 or more field trips a month - either to view art galleries or to draw/paint outside - including Port Townsend, Sequim, Joyce, Neah Bay etc.
  • Mini-mural painting with guidance from Jackson Smart - a professional sign and mural painter.
  • Learning Adobe Creative Suite Photoshop Pro version curriculum
  • Airbrush Mastery - beyond the basic stencil
  • Drawing and painting people
  • Light up your panting with light effects
  • Your website or your life!
  • Putting on your own show at the Skills Center
  • Port Angeles Arts Council special event
  • Superstar! Promotion and Media outreach

Last year Akamai Art, and the community donated about $2,000 worth of supplies - in addition to Perkins Funds of about $1500 and our annual budget of $1,000 for a total of $4,500 which means that we have materials that are... AWESOME!!!! New digital cameras, airbrushes, and paints - oh my!

All of the students who showed work at our spring 2013 student art show "Spring Loaded" sold work. Some sold more than one piece and others also were commissioned by the pubic to create original works of art. All that marketing that we did paid off - literally! And a shout out to the students from the 2013 Summer School for accomplishing the B.H.A.G. (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of producing a professional quality comic book in three weeks - 77 pages of wild imagination.

You can register for classes either by stopping by the Skills Center (905 West 9th Street, Port Angeles WA 98363 (360) 565-1533  and filling out the form, or through your high school counselor. Classes start Tuesday Sept 3rd, but registration is open through Sept 11th. 

Multi-Faced by Josh Watson, Skills Center student

What's great is that no matter what career path you choose - you will know how to communicate what you have to offer in a way that doesn't feel like being an "icky salesman." This can be applied to job interviews and being a leader in the workplace. Best of all - it means learning how to work with people in a way that is fun and builds organizations. Helps you to be the MVP of your company or the CEO of your own empire.

These last few weeks I've been reflecting and putting together new material for the school year. What worked? What didn't work? What could be improved? Should this be scrapped? Should that be added? How does a student know that they are making progress? How do I know? These are all questions that are revisited not only at the beginning, but continuously throughout the school year. It's how you get better. It's how anything is improved.

In education, there's this focus on "Get the paper/project/test done. Get a grade (hopefully a good one) and move on." I remember thinking as a student "Oh, I will be so happy to be done with this American History class. I will never have to deal with it again!" Ummmmmm. Guess what? If you are an American citizen - you are never done with American history. Because you are a part of it in the making."

As a student artist, I would think very differently. "I'm getting more accurate with drawing faces - and that picture of my sister looking serious really looks like her. How can I get a drawing or painting that really captures how she smiles without her looking scary?" I was never done. It was all about getting better. This is how things work in the real world.

Those of you who have taken my classes before know about how I incorporate a "Mindset" piece into the curriculum. Mindset is everything. With it you can accomplish anything. Without it, nothing can be accomplished. While letting go of the freedom of summer is difficult - there is something to embracing the change of seasons, and starting a new school year. 

Lighthouse by Emilee Spoon - Skills Center and Port Angeles High School Student

"People would not be so impressed if they knew how hard I work."

In sports, many people believe great athletes are "just born" or are "naturals." This is not true for most of them. It's the mindset and working towards improving skills that gets them to the high levels of performance. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school varsity team, not recruited by his choice of college and passed over by two teams that could have had him for the draft pick. But he worked harder than his coaches had ever seen an athlete work - and became considered one of the greatest basketball players ever. This is true for art and any other skill or subject. 

Cosmic Relief by Chaz Stephens - Skills Center Student

Here's a video about Michael Jordan and his mindset

Instead of berating yourself for something that you didn't do well (I suck at __________! or I wish I hadn't done____________.) - can you look at it more from the perspective of where you can grow. (I can improve _____________. Next time, I can try doing ___________________ instead.)

What was something that you did last year that turned out great? Could you do something like it, but even better?

Is there a habit that isn't really working for you any more? Can you let it go or replace it with a better habit?

May you have the BEST. SCHOOL YEAR. EVER!


Melissa Klein    360.809.0083    PO Box 2272 Sequim WA 98382

PS - Please help out by passing on the word about the Commercial Art class and other Skills Center classes - let your friends know! Feel free to forward this email or give them my contact info. Many classes have openings, and if there is not enough enrollment, then the class gets cancelled (which would suck). Thanks so much!


Hi Everyone,
As an artist, I deal with myths and how they can reveal great truths. But there are truthful myths and there are false myths. The importance is knowing the difference.
While many of you know me more as a professional artist - I also teach at the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center in Port Angeles. Last year, I started a Commercial Art program at the Skills Center and over the course of the year I have gotten to know the other instructors in a wide range of fields - from auto collision to culinary to video production. They share a passion for their subjects, the students and a deep knowledge of their industries. Our facilities are state of the art, but in talking to people in the community - it is clear there are a many misconceptions about the Skills Center. 
Many people are frustrated by the education system. I've been frustrated by the education system - both as a student and as a teacher. Ghandi says "Be the change you want to see." For me, the Skills Center is the change I want to see. My only regret is that I didn't have an opportunity to take classes like these, it would have saved so much time, effort, and struggle. 
Ron Craig, our new director, created an information sheet I want to share with you to clear up some of these myths. We want a dialogue with the community about what we offer. 
Registration is still open - and it's not too late to enroll. It's a great opportunity for students who have completed 8th grade and are under 21. It's open to home school students and to people who are no longer in high school who meet the age requirements. 
Scroll down for more information about my class this year

Dragons in the Mist by Josh Watson - Skills Center & Lincoln Student

“The Skills Center Is Not Academic”
  • Skills Center Students can earn Core Credit or College Credit while taking Technical Classes.
  • Skills Center Students often work and study side-by-side with Peninsula College Students.
  • Many people with college degrees go back to school for training at Technical Colleges similar to the Skills Center.  Why not get those skills in High School?
“There Are No Good Jobs For Skills Center Graduates”
  • Our courses lead to industry certification.
  • ·Many of our graduates go on to successful careers: International Chef, Composites Technician at ACTI, Composites Technician at Westport, CNA in Medical Clinics, IT Technician, Auto Body repair, Auto Body Painting, and many more.            
“Skills Center Classes Are Expensive”·      
  • All classes are free with the exception of Cosmetology (fee to purchase your professional kit, which
  • you keep.)
  • Bus Passes are available for students who qualify. Inquire at the office or with the instructor.
  • Free Tech Prep college classes (High School classes where you can earn college credits which means that you pay less for your college education)
  • No College Loans to repay.
“I Don’t Have Time For Skills Center Classes”
  • 3 time slots available: Morning, afternoon, and evening.
  • Some classes offer part-time and independent study options
  • Online learning options
“Education Is Out Of Touch With The Real World”
  • All instructors have industry experience.  In order to become a Career and Technical Education Instructor, teachers have to prove that they have the real-world experience.
  • Every Skills Center instructor has a committee of industry professionals giving them advice.
  • The Skills Center provides hands on experience with industry tools. For example, Composites Technology offers a technology lab, CNC Router, composites baking oven, and an updated computer lab.
Can you afford to not do this?

From right: Rachel Catterson, Jeanette Dewey, Abigail Nicholls, Brandon Fudally

Ninja by Destiny Walters-Spencer - Skills Center and Port Angeles High School Student

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