Students bring illustrations to life with cutting-edge campus equipment

Posted by Ashley Speller on 2/13/2020

The buzzing and humming sounds might remind some people of a busy workshop or a noisy warehouse but it’s is actually part of a high school classroom.

Eighteen-year-old Cameron Vines operates a ‘Gravograph LS900’, a large engraving and cutting machine that brings digital images to life using a laser beam.

“The fan has to come on because it filters out dust, smoke, small particles, and chemicals that would otherwise be harmful to us,” he explained.

Vines uses the machine to do various projects for his class.

“I took the initiative to learn how to do it and then from there, I just became the one who did it. I’m in the process of teaching three maybe four students how to use this,” he said.

Vines attends the Engineering and Technologies Academy (ETA), a magnet program that offers students a college-level curriculum and exposure to professional level competitions.

“I did a ‘Engineering, Design, and Manufacturing’ class, then I did a ‘Graphic Design’ class. These two are the things that I have been involved in ever since. ETA allowed me that exploration I needed to find what I liked,” Vines said.

The high school senior is in Grizelda Gentry’s ‘Practicum in Graphic Design’ course.

Gentry has been teaching for twenty-one years.

“He is my independent study; he actually does all the designing, the lasering, and everything on his own. “I teach so many courses and I’m in charge of two or three clubs so it’s really nice to have an intern under me to help or assist me in what I need to do for class,” she explained.

Ms. Gentry said Cameron is always crafting unique projects with the classroom’s laser machine.

He has even made his own board game.

“He keeps it clean, he organizes it, he teaches my underclassmen on how to use it and take care of it; that’s his baby. He loves the laser and he’s been really good for my class,” Gentry added.

Ms. Gentry has been with ETA since the academy first opened its doors.

Her students are passionate leaders, thinkers, and creators. 

“I like to create things; I want to take what is in my head and bring it to the world,” Vines expressed.

That creativity is something students will take with them well beyond high school.

“When they get to college, the professors are so impressed that the kids have worked with all of this equipment that North East has been able to get us. For example, in the other rooms we have 3D printers; I have a big plotter that makes banners; so all of these are over and beyond what our technology class is usually teaching. We just go that extra step for ETA,” Ms. Gentry said.

To learn more about the Engineering and Technologies Academy (ETA), click here:

Discover the NEISD way, where our educators provide an innovative space for students to learn and grow.  

Ashley Speller