Alex Smith creates winning design for Seal of Civic Readiness pin

a teenager wearing black stands next to an easel showcasing an artistic design that the student created

Recent Johnstown graduate Alex Smith stands next to a winning pin design that he created.

The New York State Board of Regents and New York State Education Department recently created a Seal of Civic Readiness designation that students can earn with their high school diploma. Students must demonstrate certain criteria and show an understanding of civic responsibility in order to receive the designation.

A contest was held for students in Hamilton, Fulton, and Montgomery counties to create an art design that could be used as a pin to adorn the graduation gowns of local students who met the rigorous requirements of the Seal of Civic Readiness. Recent Johnstown graduate Alex Smith’s design was chosen for the honor. Alex said he created the design on his phone, and was able to incorporate the outlines of all three counties represented in the contest.

Johnstown Jr.-Sr. High School social studies teacher Sean Russo recognized Alex at a short ceremony earlier this month, which was also attended by principal Scott Hale, art teacher Erin Kelly, and Alex’s father, Patrick Smith.

an artistic design is on an easelIn creating the pin, students needed to communicate with stakeholders, such as school administrators and social studies teachers, and seek input from an art teacher, to gain feedback on their design drafts. Students then needed to incorporate the feedback into their design so that the end design best met the goals of the Seal of Civic Readiness and the participating schools.

Next year, Alex said he plans to enter the workforce to start saving money, but will continue to look for ways to incorporate his love of art and graphic design into everything he does, with the hopes of someday perhaps being able to make a living through his art.


a group of adults stand next to a student and a piece of art on an easel

(Left to Right) Johnstown Jr.-Sr. HS art teacher Erin Kelly, Johnstown student Alex Smith, social studies teacher Sean Russo, and principal Scott Hale.

a teenager and his father stand next to a piece of art

Alex Smith stands next to his winning art design, with his father, Patrick Smith.

a man pulls a black tarp off of an easel to reveal a piece of art

Social studies teacher Sean Russo reveals Alex’s winning art design in a ceremony held earlier this month.

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