Art Club Rocks the Parade


Fall means floats, and Art Club created another winning entry in the Homecoming competition. Theme this year was amusement park rides, and the Club’s Alice in Wonderland designs were terrific, from painted backgrounds and props to colorful costumes. Enthusiasm builds over the two weeks of long hours required to build such a masterpiece, and teachers provide support and a cheering section for these talented students. Go Art Club!!


Nutrition Unit Informs and Inspires Great Design

This capstone project follows an extensive unit learning about nutrition and the food industry in America. Seniors can choose to work solo or with one partner to design packaging for a healthy food item. The assignment is introduced by designer Todd Gallopo, owner of boutique design company Meat and Potatoes, who talks with the students about the marketing and design process for packaging, his speciality. The culmination is a competition among the student designers – judged by Todd – for top honors in several categories. Congratulations everyone – this year’s packages were creative, amusing, attractive, in other words: successful!

Healthy Potluck: Delicious & Nutritious!


Academy Seniors look forward to this tasty cook-off every year, and for the first time the “Mercer Gourmets” beat the “Rosillo Foodies” – but only because we demanded the judges name a winner! Everything was so delicious – and nutritious – that picking the best was impossible. Students had spent the previous two weeks reading “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan, watching “Fed Up”, the documentary about America’s food industry, and keeping a daily log of everything that they ate for a week. Armed with knowledge, they rose to the challenge of preparing a dish that followed the “Rules” and was yummy besides. Way to go, Class of 2016! Live long and eat well!!

Shirt Design Competition

Each year we kick off fall semester with a creative challenge: Seniors must design an Academy shirt they would be proud to wear – and be willing to purchase! This year the styles of shirts were as varied as the graphics they display. Some students want baseball jerseys, some basic Ts, some prefer long vs. short sleeve crews. Now the hard part – narrowing down the options for a general student vote. Any shirt printers out there want to support AOAT with super discounted prices??Bill.Back.T


The most unusual graphics were also the seniors’ top pick. “Bill’s Got My Back” is a tribute to our teacher Bill Diebold who truly supports whatever the kids need with generosity and love.

Designs for Healthy Eating


Seniors finish off the year with a flourish – the 10-week Nutrition Unit culminates with their packaging designs judged by AOAT Partner Todd Gallopo of Meat and Potatoes Design. Our students work either solo or with a partner to create a new food item and package it to appeal to teens to mid-twenties consumers. Their efforts pictured above are colorful, imaginative, and often humorous – the better to attract young people in the target demographic! Todd checks out all the entries carefully, then gives his crtram.pkg4blogitique and picks winners in 5 categories.

Todd also visited our classes at the launch of packaging project to share his experiences as a designer, and to give tips on important elements in successful marketing through graphics. We thank him for his generous participation in this rigorous annual assignment.

The Nutrition Unit starts with informative documentaries – Fed Up, Forks Over Knives, and Food Inc. – which open up a dialog about what is good nutrition. Students then keep a food log for 5 days, and we read Food Rules by Michael Pollan aloud in class. Some students and teachers try the “No Sugar Challenge” to see if they can go without a week or more! Students next compete in a “Healthy Potluck” for best dish that follows the “Rules”, a favorite event for teachers as well as students.

By the completion of this unit, students know how to read nutritional labels, check ingredients, and what elements are required for all food packaging – real world knowledge about healthy eating as well as experience in design that serves them well as they take charge of their own diets as young adults.

And We Have a Winner!

“The competition was nerve-wracking, but all the prepping and presenting, the commitment, time and effort I put in was exhilarating. I definitely encourage AOAT students to show off their skills in future competitions.” – Laurenn

skills.laurenThis past weekend our AOAT team participated in the Regional Competition for SKILLS USA – and placed! Laurenn took home the Bronze for “Pin Design”, a digital challenge requiring students to create – from start to finish – a graphic for a membership badge. This was our first time competing, so it was very exciting for the whole team. Laurenn will now move on to State competitions in San Diego.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel through educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education (CTE) across the nation.

We have three CTE credentialed teachers in AOAT – and will be expanding our team’s participation in SKILLS competitions. We think this auspicious first experience will inspire more students to get involved, and to build their leadership abilities by competing with teams from around the region, state, and nation.