Students get real-world experience with online Pio Gear store
Despite the fact that schooling has been mostly remote and online for the past year, school spirit at Sandy High is alive and well.
Helping to foster this spirit are the students in Andrew Schaffer's Pioneer Digital Media Club and Nick Mato's DECA club with their Pio Gear online store.
Schaffer said that every year the school hosts a T-shirt design contest, which many of his students participate in. Though one design is chosen as the winner, "we have all these cool designs" in the end, he said.
So, now five of those designs can be found on shirts, sweatshirts, masks and more online.
The online store serves not only as a way for students and staff to buy merchandise to show their school spirit, but as an avenue for the DECA and Pioneer Digital Media students to gain experience running a business and marketing their artwork.
"I've always really liked design, but being able to actually make a product is really awesome," said senior digital media club member Katie Fisher. "I've entered the T-shirt competition a few times, but I've never actually gotten my shirt made. I think it's really cool that now I can apply my skills to something that can actually be bought as a product, thanks to working in partnership with the DECA club. It really helps being able to see a physical design be made."
Lucy Gilchrist said contributing to the Pio Gear store has helped her feel more connected to the school community to which she is new as a freshman this year.
"I definitely enjoy making designs for the school," said Spencer Jones, a junior in the digital media club. "It allows me — through both of these clubs — to connect more with the people in them. Even though I've never met some of (them) in-person, I've collaborated with (them) on multiple different projects, and I think it's been a really good time. Having a common interest or a common goal definitely makes conversing with people much easier, in my opinion. I've never taken one of Mato's classes, but now I know him pretty well."
The students said this collaboration also has broadened their perspectives by working with students with different interests and insights. Business students may learn about digital media, and media students may learn more about marketing, finance and business.
"It's been one way for me to talk to other people as well," said freshman Jamari Roethe of the club collaboration. "We also learn a lot about marketing strategies and working as a team and such. I do really enjoy it."
Many of the designs available on merchandise on Redbubble were created by students, such as Gilchrist and Jones' "Manga Pio Pete" artwork.
So, even during Comprehensive Distance Learning days, students who club members have never met could be wearing designs created and marketed by their peers, which Jones said is "super cool to envision."
"It's always been kind of a weird dream of mine to have a clothing brand, so this is like a start to it, I guess," he said.
Every dollar raised by the online store goes back to the DECA and Pioneer Digital Media clubs to fund future endeavors, such as travel for competitions and other group projects.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.