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Rock Hill students to launch screenprinting business

Rock Hill High School students, under teachers Ed White and Lana Harding, will be designing and screenprinting shirts and selling them in a Tomahawk Tees store at the school. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

When the fall semester begins, students at Rock Hill High School will be taking part in the launch of a new business on campus.

Tomahawk Tees will offer screenprinted shirts and other items, designed and printed by students.

“Over the last two years, our school has had a student managed and operated coffee shop, and after seeing that success, we have decided to open this,” student Andrew Medinger said.

Medinger said the students will work in a small-scale print shop and will sell the products they create in a space on campus, with hours put in on a volunteer basis.

He said, in addition, this will give them a chance to earn an industry seal on their diplomas at graduation.

“It’s an up-and coming T-shirt store and will be open to the community,” he said. “It will be good for students and the community and help kids get involved who typically are not.”

Medinger will co-manage the project, along with Gavin Haskins.

“It’s organized chaos, or the lack of it,” Haskins said of the launch. “We’ll be learning to manage staff and other people.”

Jared Raynard works on a T-shirt on the screenprinting press at Rock Hill High School on Tuesday. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Like the school’s coffee shop, the Redmen Roaster, students will get an education in economics, in addition to creating the shirts.

“We’re really excited,” Lana Hardy, who will be the instructor for that side of things, said. “This will teach business management skills they will use forever.”

Art teacher Ed White, who will handle the printing side, said the school got the screenprinting equipment about a month ago.
On Tuesday, they were gathered around it, already printing shirts under the direction of guest Ray Casto, of South Point, the former owner of Casto’s Screenprinting.

White said he was happy the program was putting a focus on something he has long pushed for.

“This is hands-on learning,” he said. “It promotes right brain function. Most school is left-brained thought and teaches information they need to know. This is all right-brain friendly and something they don’t get to develop sitting in a class lecture. This promotes hands-on right-brained activities and more well-rounded students. That’s the big reason for doing this.”

White said the products will not be limited to T-shirts and students will learn to create other merchandise using the printing process.

Handling promotion for Tomahawk Tees is student Whitney Howard, who will serve as marketing director.

“I’ll be making Instagram and social media posts,” she said of a big focus of her duties.

Howard said they will be setting up for special events and that they will be coordinating with the Redmen Live page the school maintains on Facebook.
She said for preparation, she job shadowed their principal Sam Gue’s wife, Maggie, who runs the Hip Eagle Boutique in Huntington.
“I got to see what went into social media posts,” she said.
Sam Gue said the shop will be part of the RISE Up curriculum, which offers training in schools and technical centers throughout the state.
“They’ll be learning screenprinting, as well as business and retail,” he said of the benefits. “So it’s twofold.”