CHICOPEE — Although it has been several months since Chicopee Comprehensive High School student Carter Janik won the gold medal in the SkillsUSA National Championship in the Advertising Design Division, recognition of his achievement continues.

Janik participated in every level of the competition — local, state and national — winning first place each time.

While currently a junior at Chicopee Comp, Janik was a sophomore when he took part in the competitions from March through June.

Janik explained that the SkillsUSA championships are career competitions for any career and technical education or other students who are interested in their craft or talent, with many options to choose from.

“Our school’s CTE program allows our students — within the 10 shops that we have — to compete in various career competitions that are a part of the SkillsUSA championship,” he said.

Janik continued, “So, as a design and visual communications student — that’s the shop that I’m in — I can compete in various shops like photography, film and video production, 3D animation, and of course, advertising design.”

For CTE students in a different shop or for those who want to compete in something else entirely, there are multiple other options to choose from. “There’s a lot going on at every conference you go to … It’s amazing,” he noted.

Janik said the district competition consisted of a multiple-choice test that demonstrated knowledge of design as a concept, and the technical terms of it. There were basic questions about different technical aspects that one must know in terms of advertising design.

At the state conference, Janik said, “It really prepares you more for the type of work you’ll expect at the national conference.” Here, Janik was in a room with computers and his design supplies, where he had different guidelines to follow and projects to complete.

The two main types of design projects — aside from written and multiple-choice tests — are creative projects, which consists of using your “creative ingenuity” to design new material, Janik said. There are also mechanical projects which involve recreating an advertisement or visual materials to the best of your ability, using technical skills.

At the state level, Janik had to create a logo for a fictional printer company, along with an advertisement poster. Although he was provided with images and other resources to use during these projects, for the most part, it was up to him to do it all on his own.

Janik assembled a mood board with both the logo and poster. He shared that he also had to recreate a formatting copy with correct typography, shapes and colors.

“What that did, was it really helped me for the national competition because that was basically what we were doing there as well,” he said.

The national competition took place in mid-June, in Atlanta, Georgia. Here, Janik was given a water company called Fyx, and had to create a logo and advertising poster for it. He noted that there were different guidelines, demographic information and brand personalities he had to meet.

The difference between the national competition and the local and state competitions, is that it took place over the course of a few days, compared to one.

Janik explained that everything was timed, so he had to use his time management skills.

“The fact that I was able to get it all done to the best of my ability, it was a very rewarding experience to me in that regard because I was able to learn so much along the way,” he said.

Every SkillsUSA competition, Janik said, is on a point-based system. For the Advertising Design Division in particular, there were different rubrics the competitors were scored and ranked on.

When the award ceremony came on the final day of the national championship, Janik said the judges called the gold, silver and bronze medalists on stage, but did not say who won what.

“When the second-place person was called, of course it wasn’t me, so that’s when I found out I got first place and I was like ‘what?’”

Janik said he had an “incredible face of shock” and “absolute surprise.”

“It was such a great moment,” he said, as he stood on the first-place podium and was given his gold medal. “It was just so surreal,” he shared.

The award ceremony took place not only in front of all the SkillsUSA students and audience members, but it was also being live streamed.

Janik said he also received an “instant response” from people as word spread quickly on social media.

“[It is] reaffirming in your mind that you’re capable of so much and your hardwork has paid off … It’s just amazing in that regard,” he shared.

On Dec. 7, the city of Chicopee hosted a recognition ceremony for Janik as this is the first time in over a decade a student from Chicopee competed at the national competition. To be recognized by the city and receive a citation, Janik said he felt similar feelings to when he won the gold: “Overall amazement and it gave me extra confidence and motivation in my abilities. Being able to be recognized by my city and state for such a meaningful accomplishment to me, it was really sweet of them to do that. I’m super grateful,” he said.

He continued, “To be able to represent my city and my state on such a big level and then win it all, it was super heartwarming.”

Because he enjoyed the entire experience so much, Janik said he will be involved with SkillsUSA again this year. He plans on participating in all events they have on a state and national level and will try to compete in the championships again this year, although he said he is unsure which competition he will get into just yet.

For anyone who would like to participate in the SkillsUSA competition, Janik’s advice to them is be willing to compete, know everything you need to know, take some time to research and be familiar with any programs or tools that you might use.

Janik shares his graphic design and animation brand on social media. He encourages anyone interested in learning more about his work to visit youtube.com/StudioCRJ.

llebel@thereminder.com | + posts