Maine Celtic Celebration has awarded cash prizes to two local students at the Waldo County Technical Center as winners of a poster design challenge offered to members of the school’s Graphic Designs class. The winners were Clara Snow and Avery Kraemer, both seniors from Northport.

The students were given basic specification for poster elements and encouraged to use their own ideas in creating the poster designs. According to teacher, Lindsay Farmer, the project generated much enthusiasm among the students, who submitted about 10 separate designs.

The Maine Celtic Celebration board of directors had intended to pick only one winner but was so impressed with both Clara and Avery’s designs that the board decided to award two prizes, according to a press release. Both designs incorporated traditional Celtic symbols — Clara’s using the Scottish thistle, a symbol of nobility and graciousness, and Avery’s using the Celtic green man, a symbol of rebirth.

Clara received the first prize award of $250; her design will appear on both posters and T-shirts. Avery received the second prize award of $150; his design will appear on T-shirts. Posters and T-shirts will be available at this year’s Maine Celtic Celebration, July 20-22 at Belfast Common.

The Graphic Design course at the Waldo County Tech Center is one of 13 different programs offered to students from Belfast, Mount View and Searsport high schools. Graphic Design students learn artistic theory, develop creative thinking, and gain technical skills using industry standard software.

The classes are project-based; students design such items as posters, brochures, invitations, logos, packaging and web graphics. Real projects come from both partner schools and the community.

In addition to the Maine Celtic Celebration project, students have recently worked on a concert poster and program for the Penobscot Bay Singers, a logo coffee mug for a Maine Education Association officer candidate, and graphics for a MaineAllCare event in Belfast.

Farmer emphasized the educational value of completing real projects, which help students build both technical and relationship skills.