Roscoe Collegiate High School students Linnea Elmore (left) and Patience Perez (right) are dual enrollment students in TSTC’s Digital Media Design program. Also pictured is Shelby Bennett, a dual enrollment representative at TSTC’s Sweetwater campus.

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – A love of creating their own art through digital media led two Roscoe Collegiate High School students to Texas State Technical College.

Linnea Elmore and Patience Perez, both high school juniors, began their dual enrollment journey at different times but have developed an understanding of design through TSTC’s Digital Media Design program.

“I started when I was a freshman and found TSTC offered this program,” Elmore said. “I thought it was fun and decided to stay with it.”

Shelby Bennett, a dual enrollment representative at TSTC’s Sweetwater campus, said Elmore is on track to complete her certificate of completion before she graduates from high school in 2024.

Perez said she has always enjoyed drawing things and it was natural for her to join her best friend in the program. Perez is completing her first year in the pathway and has not regretted taking a college class.

“TSTC helped me find some direction,” she said. “It has really opened up my artistic ability.”

The students use one class period during high school to work on different projects, but most of their assignments are completed at home. Elmore said she completed one assignment while on family vacation.

“One of the more difficult projects for me was the typography course,” Elmore said. “I had to make my own font, and I put it off for so long. I was on vacation and while I was in the hotel, I was finally able to complete it.”

Deadline stress can be a common occurrence for digital designers, Perez said.

“To me, I like to work under pressure,” she said. “There are always distractions when completing anything. You just have to push yourself to get it done.”

Bennett said Elmore and Perez are model dual enrollment students and perfect for the online program.

“They communicate well with me and the instructors and always respond to emails,” Bennett said. “They have a great attitude when it comes to making sure everything is done. They will let me and our instructors know if they are struggling.”

While Elmore’s typography project caused her stress, Perez had a different level of stress during her three-dimensional city project.

“It was one of the projects that took me the longest to complete,” she said. “Once I had things aligned, I accidentally deleted my project on my computer. There was no way to get it back. I was able to get it done in about six hours. I was super proud of how it came out.”

Feedback from instructors is also a positive aspect for the high school students.

“I really like when they include comments about our work,” Perez said.

“It makes you feel accomplished when they give you feedback,” Elmore said.

With Elmore on track to complete her certificate of completion requirements, Perez said she plans to take additional TSTC classes this summer to move ahead in the curriculum.

Elmore said she does not have plans for a career but would like to venture into the business world. Perez said she hopes to start her own business that would focus on creating websites, computer background designs, stickers and logos.

“I have been doing that for a little while and have been able to design and sell some of my work,” she said.

Bennett said having dual enrollment opportunities available for high school students offers teenagers a unique experience.

“This gives students the college experience while in high school and gets them prepared for success in the future,” she said.

According to onetonline.org, the need for graphic designers in Texas was expected to grow 10% between 2020 and 2030. The average annual salary of a graphic artist in the state is $47,560, according to the website.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree, certificates of completion and an occupational skills achievement award in Digital Media Design. The program is available completely online.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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