Burrell Elementary

Direct-to-Garment T-Shirt Production is Elementary

Burrell Elementary   |   Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

What’s more fun than getting a custom printed t-shirt from your school? Making one yourself!  Last year, Melinda Kulick, the Business, Computer & Information Technology Teacher for Burrell School district in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, helped her elementary school students print their own t-shirts to prepare for the school’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Students and teachers were asked to bring in their own t-shirts, or one was supplied by the PTA. The committee selected a design, and each class was given a choice of seven sayings, including “Go Green!”and “Love the Earth.” The clock was ticking however – Kulick had only two and half weeks to find a way for her students to produce 565 t-shirts. 

Simple, Powerful Printing Technology

Kulick reached out to Allegheny Educational Systems for help.  “I didn’t even know the direct-to-garment option existed!” said Kulick. “I chose the Roland VersaStudio BT-12  because the supplies were less expensive, and the production process was easier than with other methods.”

“Today's students live in the 'instant generation.' The BT-12 was built for this type of environment.”

Allegheny Educational Systems loaned the school a BT-12 and also provided training. “Learning to use the equipment was extremely simple,” said Kulick.

Student-Run Production

Kulick demonstrated to her 2nd and 3rd grade students how to use the BT-12, and oversaw the process as they printed their own shirts. She is confident that even her Kindergarten and 1st grade students would have been able to print their own shirts if given time.

Kulick was impressed with the speed of the process and the printer’s low maintenance requirements.  “The BT-12 was a total workhorse,” she said.

Fueling Future Learning

While accomplishing their project, Kulick’s students were engaging both with new technology and with each other. “Peer-to-peer learning happened organically,” she said. 

“Not only was this experience hands-on, but the students were able to see what the shirt would look like almost instantly,” said Kulick. “Today’s students live in the 'instant generation.' The BT-12 was built for this type of environment.”