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ASD students start plans to open print shop

Sydney Bommersbach, Writer

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Walking into school sporting a team jersey can make any student feel as if he is part of something larger. Now every club, SRT and group can experience a similar feeling because teachers Matthew Sullivan and Tracy Skene are creating their own print shop inside the high school.

“We are simply trying to create a cheap way for groups and sports to buy t-shirts. This is all non-profit,” Sullivan said, “but the main focus of this is to have our students from Captains Club working with our students from our Autistic Spectrum Disorder program (ASD).”

Part of the transition program for the ASD students is teaching them how to work and the communication skills to be successful. Having an on-campus site for them to get real life experience and interactions with customers is the main goal.

“We thought we would work with Senior Project to get a couple kids to actually lead the business, and then we might work with desktop publishing to do any of the graphics and maybe even the finance class kids can run the business side,” Tracy Skene said. “My transition students will run and be the work force that does all of the actual printing. Then we’re putting money back into our building and our programs.”

Modeled after a similar program at Holly High School, the involvement of multiple classes offers real world experience for even more students. Beginning in about 3 weeks, t-shirts and hoodies will be produced, and in the future it may become a campus store.

“I believe that is a long way away, but a campus store would be great because then you could have those kids working in the school store,” Sullivan said. “That’s a possibility, but right now we are just hoping to get things moving and making shirts and get these kids working.”

However, none of this could have happened without the Fenton Foundation. There have been two auctions so far, one at a golf outing and one at a black tie dinner at The Laundry restaurant. Together, both events raised around $9,000 to start the program and to go towards machinery.

Skene and Sullivan hope to have the store fully operational by the end of October. They would like to thank anyone who donated.

“It’s been awesome to see the community support in all of this,” Skene said.

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