Ellis Eley, a student at LHS, wins national SkillsUSA contest

Published 9:00 am Saturday, December 11, 2021

LaGrange High School is now home to not only the Grangers but also the winner of the National SkillsUSA Week T-Shirt Design Challenge. The student, Ellis Eley, will have his t-shirt design produced and offered to SkillsUSA members throughout the country. Eley works through the work study program with Heather Evans, the graphic design teacher at LHS.

Evans describes Eley as a talent and took no credit for him winning the national award.

“He’s like a super talent. Somebody asked me how much I contributed to what he did during this award. I did nothing,” Evans said. “I don’t have to do anything. That’s just what a strong artist he is.”

Eley said he loves the problem solving that goes into graphic design and learning how to make something original while still following the rules.

“I like to take graphic design challenges as a creative problem, like a puzzle. You do the task and you have to follow all these like rules of graphic design,” Eley said. “But then, after you get through all the rules and stuff, that’s where you can put in your own ideas. I just enjoy that kind of problem solving.” 

For the contest, Eley said he used the tools of different professions to help illustrate SkillsUSA.

“What I did is I took a box, a square shape, and I made all of the tools for creativity coming out of the box, like they’re thinking out of the box,” Eley said.

Evans was the first to find out that Eley had won the award and recalled what it was like getting the notification.

“I was at home getting ready to hit play on my workout, and I looked at my email for whatever reason, I heard it ding,” Evans said. “I started jumping up and down. I was dancing, acting crazy. Then, I was like oh my gosh let me reread this. So I reread it again. I started to text him [but] I said, no this warrants a phone call.” 

Eley said he wants to pursue graphic design as a career and eventually start his own business with it.

“I want to go into graphics. Then I want to major or minor in either web design or business, so that after college, I can intern and work for a graphic design firm for a while. Then start my own firm, so I can do everything by myself,” Eley said.

Ellis Eley (right) poses with Heather Evans (center) and Cade Lawson (left). Evans is Eley’s graphic design teacher at LHS and Lawson is his work study coworker.