Warren Tech students honor Perseverance Heroes

Posters commemorate and teach about cultural icons from marginalized groups

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 2/18/22

For the past two years, Warren Tech Graphic Design & Illustration students have been creating a special series of posters called the Perseverance Heroes project. 

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Warren Tech students honor Perseverance Heroes

Posters commemorate and teach about cultural icons from marginalized groups

Posted

For the past two years, Warren Tech Graphic Design & Illustration students have been creating a special series of posters called the Perseverance Heroes project. 

As part of the project, students chose a historical figure who has overcome barriers, discrimination and societal challenges. 

The posters honor heroes from the worlds of sports, science, the arts and politics. The series includes colorful tributes to well known figures like Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, as well as lesser-known pioneers like Katherine Johnson, an African American woman who made significant contributions to America’s space program. And that’s by design. Because the goal of the project is to educate, as well as create an impactful visual.

Graphic Design Instructor Scot Odendahl said an important part of the project was giving a voice to the students — letting them research their subject and educate others through their design. He also pointed out that students who attend Warren Tech come from diverse backgrounds, which allows for their work to be created through many different lenses. Students participating in the project receive an English credit for their research and writing, as well as Graphic Design credits. 

Though the project explores the lives of many individuals from the African American community, it’s not specifically a Black History project, in that students were encouraged to tell visual stories of people from all marginalized populations. Posters of political organizer and activist, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez, and Nobel Peace Prize winning activist Malala Yousafzai are included in the series.

Warren Tech Learning Specialist Sarah Washington also is an equity and diversity liaison for the school. She said students really bought in to the concept of the project and were excited about researching their subjects.

“Some of them knew right away who they were going to pick,” she said. “And some of them had no idea, so they got to learn about a lot of different people, in making their decision. We encouraged them to look for the unsung heroes, and they really came through.”

Design Instructor Peter Cunis said graphic design assignments are often structured in a way that’s similar to real-world working conditions. Students research their topic or subject, create sketches and layouts and then pitch the concept to instructors. He said the program has been valuable in many different ways, including giving everyone involved a chance to learn about inspirational figures they may have never heard of before.

Odendahl said the posters are displayed in the entryway galleria at Warren Tech, but he hopes they will someday be shared across the school district.

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