School gets creative with community print shop

RANDOLPH — It’s a real win-win situation at Randolph Public Schools.

Students get real-world working experience. At the same time, the community is provided a service.

Cardinal Creative, the newest school-based business at Randolph High School, is essentially a graphic design and print shop. Products and services include largeformat posters and banners, wrapped canvas printing, decal printing, image editing and type setting, to name a few.

Ryan Surber teaches K-12 art at Randolph Public Schools. His photo and digital art class at the high school is undertaking Cardinal Creative work.

The curriculum and idea for the business first started with Lindsay Miller, Surber’s predecessor.

At that time, the photo and digital art class had a stronger focus on photography. When Surber joined Randolph Public Schools in the Fall of 2019, he brought 12 years of experience in all things graphic design – marketing design for promotional items, printed goods, web graphic design and website design, brand standardization, and advertising in all sorts of mediums.

“She (Miller) really laid the groundwork for taking it from a class to a production type environment,” Surber said.

Production equipment acquired last summer includes a printer with 44-inch-wide capability and vinyl cutter like a “Cricket on steroids” that can go up to 52 inches wide.

Cardinal Creative gives the students the opportunity to work in a professional environment in the comfort of the school setting. The work standards will be just as high as they would be for a storefront business in the community, Surber said.

The school-based business has started with some internal jobs for the school to test out its capabilities.

He hopes the community is receptive and that the work orders start coming in but also that there is a level of patience as the new venture starts ramping up its processes.

Students will be doing the work with Surber serving in a supervisory role, mainly in managing the workflow – projects coming in and going out.

“The students will really take the reins,” he said. “We’ll be able to fulfill a reasonable number of orders in a timely manner.”

Arianne Greiner is currently taking Surber’s year-long photography and digital art class and will be instrumental in getting Cardinal Creative off the ground.

“There’s not too many tasks that she wouldn’t be able to handle,” Surber said of Greiner, who has taken the class previously as a sophomore and currently this year as a senior. “I know I can trust her to do it the right way.”

Greiner is mostly interested in the photography side of the class, but continues to be open-minded in learning about the design elements and print shop.

“Creating something for someone will definitely be a new experience,” she said.

Cardinal Creative prices will be based on a project-by-project basis but will be comparable to similar online services such as Vistaprint or Walmart’s online printshop. After covering overhead costs, the profit will be channeled into scholarships for students participating in the program.

Eventually, Surber hopes the school website can be modified to accept orders online.

For now, those interested can inquire by calling the high school at 402-337-0252 or emailing Surber at ryan.surber@rcards.org.

“I’m excited,” Surber said. “I can’t wait to see what the future brings. I like what we have going and want it to go to a higher level.”

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