Running a business is no small task, but that is exactly the kind of experience CEC student Edgar Barcenas is getting through his work at the CEC Sweatshop. The t-shirt printing operation was set up as a lab experience for students in the Fashion Design and Multimedia Graphic Design classes to put their artistic talents and interests to work in both a learning and business setting.
The CEC Sweatshop fulfills orders from in-house, throughout the district and even works with community clients and Edgar has taken the lead. In his senior year, he is learning workplace skills such as responsibility, planning, work ethic, communication and positive attitude. He’s also had to learn to work under the pressure of deadlines and to assure he is turning out the high quality work that his clients expect.
Along with the business side is Edgar’s desire to feed his passions for visual art and design. He’s always liked drawing and began honing his skills when he was in middle school. “I wanted to be a car designer and my middle school teacher taught me to draw cars better and more realistically with different techniques. Then after a few years, I realized I didn’t want to design just cars, I wanted to do different things. I took all the skills I learned from my teacher and applied it to other areas. That’s how I realized I could draw,” said Edgar.
His designer’s eye was often caught by the colorful and “cool” designs that he saw on band t-shirts and that became his impetus for heading down the path of working in the CEC Sweatshop. When the opportunity became available he was the first to jump in and get his hands dirty. Through funding from the Multimedia class, Edgar was able to attend a 13-hour intensive course to learn the fundamentals of operating the machinery and printing the t-shirts. He brought that knowledge back and is now training another student, Ene Castorena, and together they will staff the shop and mentor any other interested students.
Being able to combine what they are learning in class and executing it on the job is helping Edgar and Ene to truly Do Something Real.