South Center college students display screen printing Eagle Threads | Native Information

A team of Seventh at South Middle School in Joplin is paving the way for future generations of entrepreneurs by opening a screen printing facility called Eagle Threads.

Lily Breidenstein (12), Libby Munn (13), Lucy Erisman (13) and Kutler Schwarting (12) are the students behind the operation. The project is developing into a full-time class that students can take for the next year.

Industrial technology teacher Patrick Bromley received a teaching grant from the Joplin Schools Foundation to help set the initiative off the ground. The organization has awarded annual scholarships under its Excellence in Education program, which aims to fund projects that improve students’ learning experiences through innovative and creative techniques.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity to teach kids how to do a particular job and get hands-on customer service experience,” said Bromley. “I applied for the grant last year and we received the equipment for the grant in September.”

Bromley received $ 2,400 for the equipment, including the ink, screen printing machine, and dryer. Eagle Threads launched in October, and students have designed over 100 jerseys for the high school girls’ basketball team and the Special Olympics.

“It was a great experience and you can learn a lot from it,” Lily said. “Mr. Bromley, for example, has helped me a lot in communicating with people. You have to have a great customer service perspective. “

Matt Hiatt, the school district’s sporting director, said more than 150 jerseys were ordered for the girls’ basketball team and the quality is impressive. The group is currently working on designing and printing 150 shirts for the Kaminsky Classic boys basketball tournament.

“I found it very professional and comparable to or better than a lot of the companies we work through here for the design process and things like that,” said Hiatt. “I look forward to helping them when I get the opportunity and providing real life experiences for our children at this age.”

Gabe Allen, owner of G&S Graphix in Joplin, served as a mentor to the students and taught the team the advantages and disadvantages of screen printing. Allen, who opened his screen printing and embroidery business in 2011, said it was nice to see middle school students fascinated by the industry.

“I was very impressed with the skills and abilities of the seventh grade because they take hold very quickly,” said Allen. “You can start them at the middle school level and explain to students that there are many avenues and fields that they can access later in life.”

Kutler occasionally visits G&S Graphix to print when a customer’s order is over 200 shirts.

“To me, I thought there was no way we would ever make it, but now it’s the other way around,” he said. “I’m amazed. I think if I ever needed something to refer to in the future, I could do that.”

Each of the four students has a specific title in the business that can rotate during the semester to allow them to practice different skills. Kutler is the shop manager mainly completing the practical printing of the project. Lucy helps run the business as a marketing manager. Libby and Lily are both the main organizers and deal with customer service for the business.

“This is probably the first time in your life that you have to find a way to fix something if something goes wrong,” said Bromley. “Your mistakes mean something here. You have to solve problems in the real world, and I think that’s important for kids. “

Your tasks for each task are indicated on a large dry erase card, the job exchange. When customers place orders, the number of shirts is noted and a student is assigned as the project manager.

“I learned a lot more about the business than I knew before I arrived, and I realized the importance of getting orders right and not forgetting a single shirt,” said Libby.

The company has its own Facebook page called “SMS Eagle Threads”. As the marketing manager, Lucy took the lead by drawing more followers to the site by running a giveaway competition for a free shirt that more than doubled the number.

“I never thought I’d be good at designing and marketing,” said Lucy.

Students said they had no idea about the steps involved in making a shirt and that they now have a newfound respect for clothing. They will all be back in class next year.

“It’s cool to think that Eagle Threads could still be up in 20 years, and I could look back on it and say I was one of the people who helped make it,” said Kutler.

Save proceeds

Industrial technology teacher Patrick Bromley said his seventh grade students are saving the proceeds from Eagle Threads to provide a $ 250 scholarship to a teacher in the school district.