Whether you’ve perused the student prints at the SGIA Expo’s Golden Image Gallery, or been a past participant, the Academy of Screen and Digital Print Technologies (ASDPT) Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition has had a decade-long presence celebrating and inspiring print’s future. I know when I was studying Graphic Communications Technology at Millersville University, my peers and I strove to create “WOW” prints in hopes that we could have the opportunity for others to see our work, and be awarded, too!
Though I didn’t know the history behind the annual competition until I started working at SGIA, I believe it’s important to share, as it was designed by industry experts to engage students in the printing community. Students are the future of our industry, and it is so important to support our young professionals.
ASDPT launched the first student printing competition at SGIA in 2006, which was incorporated into the long-known Golden Image Competition at the SGIA Expo. But who is Tom Frecska, the namesake behind the competition?
Pioneers in Print Education
Tom was the son of Tamas and Susan Venell Frecska, both of whom were heavily involved in the printing industry and inducted into ASDPT in 1985. In their quest to continually educate printers, they contributed to Screen Printing magazine as Tamas helped develop SGIA into what it is today, serving as Chairman of the Board in 1988. Tom maintained that same passion for print, also contributing to the magazine, and advancing the cause of education in specialty graphics printing throughout his career. He was an advocate for specialized instruction at educational programs around the globe.
Sadly, Tom passed away unexpectedly at the age of 42 in May 2009. That same year, the competition was aptly renamed to the ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition to honor his commitment to the industry and its advancement through education. We know Tom would have been proud and very appreciative in having his name associated with the esteemed competition.
Twice the Impact
Since its inception, the competition has awarded well over 200 students from SGIA Educational Institution Member schools, and as I enter my fifth year managing the program, I continue to hear numerous stories about the competition’s impact for both students and educators.
“It challenges [students] to think creatively and independently to create a strong piece. Students are pushed to research new materials, inks and techniques that are unique to their specific project. It provides a real-world challenge that students can be proud of,” says Mike Brady a Graphic Communications and Printing Technology Instructor at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
Allowing students to showcase their abilities to the industry across 27 categories — ranging from finished garments and bags to banners and flags — this one-of-a-kind competition also gives back to schools. Each year, two entries (one secondary, and one post-secondary) receive “Best of Show,” which awards a $500 cash prize to the student and another $500 to his/her graphic communications program.
I strongly encourage students (and their educators) to take advantage of this opportunity — and there’s still time to enter this year’s competition, for which entries will be displayed at PRINTING United (Dallas, October 23 - 25). Students must apply online and submit their prints to SGIA’s headquarters before September 13.
Don’t miss out on this chance to engage with the printing community while honoring its past and future!