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Christian Hawkins was pleased just to make it to the SkillsUSA national competition in Kansas City.
The rising Roane County High School senior was ecstatic to find out he placed fourth in the three-and-a-half hour advertising design competition held in late June.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Hawkins said. “That gives me a lot of potential for next year.
SkillsUSA features an array of competitions for various skills from computers to cosmetology.
Hawkins’ competition centered around creating a logo for an environmentally friendly company, as well as an advertisement promoting it.
He had to draw out thumbnails of his ideas before selecting one and producing it with a graphics design program on a computer.
He did a similar project at the state convention. The previous Roane County High School record was 14th place in the competition.
“I was shooting for 13th place because that was a new goal, a new record,’ Hawkins said.
“If I were to win first place in nationals I would be competing at the international level.”
Kansas City impressed Hawkins.
He liked that the convention center where the competition was held is on suspension above the interstate.
Hawkins became enthusiastic about design after making a sign for his church.
“It was the first logo I ever made, and I loved it,” Hawkins said.
He started doing church bulletins and also helping other churches with logos and material for things such as vacation Bible schools.
“I decided I wanted to do that in school. The only way I could do that was give up band. I switched from band to digital arts in school,” Hawkins said.
He competed at smaller levels in previous years. In September 2011 he won third for educational display at the Tennessee Valley Fair.
“Mr. (Jerry) Monroe saw potential in me last year,” Hawkins said.
He placed first this past year in the regional fair for advertising design and then made second place at the state level. When the first place winner ended up not attending nationals, Hawkins was able to go.
Hawkins said he wouldn’t be at the level he was at without the help of his teachers, including Monroe and assistant principal Cheryl Kennedy.
He wants to make a career out of his passion.
“I actually just recently did some work for a charity called Sound Off,” said Hawkins.
He got a $250 scholarship at nationals from Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation. He would like to attend O’More College of Design in Franklin, and he received a $45,000 scholarship to the school this year.