Foundation Grants Provide Professional Experiences

RELEASE DATE: February 29, 2024 – Students at Paris Gibson Education Center (PGEC) are getting professional-level experience in print technology with the help of grants from the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation.

“I don’t know that any other high school in Montana has this grade of technology,” said Career and Technical Education teacher Vince Kornick as he demonstrated the capabilities of a new 54-inch printer/cutter that allows for both large-format printing and high-volume printing and cutting. “This is the same equipment you see at commercial print shops in town.”

The printer provides students with the opportunity to create computer-generated signs, banners, posters, stickers and other products. Some of the work is sold to other schools and school groups through Lynx Graphix, the PGEC student-led print business.

CCRC Director Jodi Hicks shows the banner produced by students at PGEC

One example is a recently produced canvas banner on display at the District’s Career and College Readiness Center (CCRC) housed at Great Falls College. Many CCRC students pursue their high school equivalency certification through the assistance of District staff. CCRC program director Jodi Hicks shared that students who successfully complete the exam have the opportunity to mark the accomplishment by signing their names on the 54-inch-by-62-inch banner. She said her department has ordered a number of signs through Lynx Graphix, and they have always been pleased with the quality of work.

Through its grant program, the Foundation provided $10,000 of the nearly $17,000 cost of the hi-tech equipment. The rest of the money came from funds raised by Lynx Graphix through creating products for customers.

“The Foundation is committed to supporting efforts to develop career-ready students,” said Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Becker.  “The equipment for Lynx Graphix is one way we help give students the opportunity to learn skills they will use in the work world.”

PGEC student Mikayla Moats operates the industry-grade printer

Over 100 students at PGEC are getting hands-on experience with the new equipment. It complements and expands the work done by students on a smaller 18-inch printer/cutter that was funded by a $3,000 Foundation grant in 2014. That printer is still in use for smaller projects. The new printer is not only substantially larger, it also prints three times faster.

“We’re giving students real-life skills that can directly lead them to jobs and can give others experience for different career fields,” said Kornick, himself a 1989 graduate of Great Falls High School.

To learn more about the Foundation and all its programs, visit our website here.

Donate A One Time Or Ongoing Scholarship For High School Graduates

Setting up an educational scholarship fund can be a meaningful way to give back to your community or to honor a loved one. There are a number of things to consider when planning a scholarship. Please contact the Foundation for assistance, we are happy to help you. Contact Stephanie Becker at [email protected] or call (406) 268-6021.