The Kennedy High silk-screen business implemented by award-winning art teacher Steve Mainini is booming, with students earning $5,000 in profit in its first year, according to a school official.
Mainini, who was the school district’s teacher of the year in 2013 and a finalist for Contra Costa County teacher of the year that same year, launched the business in order to save funds for the school while providing students a creative, educational art experience. Rather than outsourcing silk screening needs, the teacher aims to become the district’s in-house print shop.
The $5,000 was made from producing t-shirts and sweatshirts for a number of schools, including an elementary school in Africa, said Sal Morabito, Kennedy’s special ed teacher. The students carried out at least 20 jobs producing spirit-wear for Kennedy High. They also made gear for the DeJean Middle School Escape Club, the El Cerrito High School Dance Your Way Festival, the Benicia Swim Club and Tina’s Pre and Primary Elementary School in Africa, which was started by retired West Contra Costa Unified teachers.
The money earned will be put in the silkscreen program’s account to be used for supplies, student scholarships and/or business grants for graduate students in the program, Morabito said.
The screen printing program is in its first year and is classified as an elective, according to the WCCUSD.
Last fall, Mainini called the program “priceless.”
“It’s not only a way for them [the students] to creatively express themselves, but to learn technical skills they wouldn’t have normally used,” he said in a district report.