Students create billboards promoting WAHS graduates

A few Williamsport Area High School seniors have gotten a taste of graduation fame, thanks to the creative efforts of two of their peers who worked to produce three billboards that showcase their movement onward from WAHS.

Senior Sarah Abercrombie, 18, and sophomore Nico Kaiser, 16, are the creative minds behind a round graduation billboards splashed across the digital display for a three-week run at the foot of the Market Street bridge seen entering the city. The subjects of the billboards are Class of 2013 students Alexis Bower, Brandon Fedoriw and Taren Peoples.

The project, conceptualized in the district’s public relations department and led by WAHS art teacher Andrea McDonough-Varner, is the result of collaboration between the city, school district and Lamar Advertising.

The billboards are meant to not only showcase the students’ graduation but also capture what teacher influenced them to pursue what it is they want to study at a particular college or university, according to Greg Hayes, director of public relations.

Additionally, the billboards are designed by art students who aspire to work in an art or graphic design field, giving them a chance to build on their portfolio and an opportunity to have their work displayed – for the first time – on a large scale.

“I feel that this project gave me a glimpse of how it feels to be a professional digital artist with a wide variety of people viewing my work,” said Abercrombie, who will attend Purdue University this fall to study wildlife and minor in photography. “I enjoy that a large audience gets to view my work. I’m also happy to be a part of school recognition and show the diversity of students who attend the high school.”

Kaiser is an aspiring advertisement designer who has his eyes set on Drexel University, the School of Visual Arts in New York and New York University.

“This project definitely helps by letting me get a feel for the field, and it can’t hurt to have designed and had a billboard published at 16,” he said. “I feel that’s definitely going to help my career later on.”

According to McDonough-Varner, the students took ownership in their work, working at it together from their own perspectives “that is illustrated in the final products.”

“A great deal of editing and critiquing went into each design,” she said. “Since Sarah and Nico are not enrolled in any of my classes, I was pleased to have the experience in guiding and advising students that I don’t typically get to work with.”