By Christine Weiser, Co-Publisher, Philadelphia Stories

I had the pleasure today of visiting The Ink Well Print Studio at Edison High School in North Philadelphia to pick up my first sample of their work. I was introduced to this group by one of their mentors, artist Karen Hunter-McLaughlin. Karen suggested I contact them for a bid on printing our new literary magazine for young writers and artists, Philadelphia Stories, Jr. I loved the idea of kids printing kids.

The Edison campus is tucked into a fairly deserted corner of the city, bustling with energetic teenagers. I went into the school, through the busy halls, and into the Xerox Ink Well studio, where I met Wilfredo Martinez, the production manager. Mr. Martinez showed me not one sample of the magazine, but four samples using a varied combination of paper stocks. They all looked great. He also showed me Edison’s literary journal, and many other samples of quality printing work equal to what I’ve seen from commercial printers.

Mr. Martinez enthusiastically told me about their school-to-career program, which began with a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and Xerox in 2006. The Office of Career and Technical Education Collaborated with Xerox Corporation to provide digital printing equipment and a Digital Printing Technician to the Graphic Communications Program at Edison.
“As I write this,” lead instructor G. David Mills writes in their brochure, “everyone in class is working on live jobs. Students are running folders, cutters, shrink wrap machines. Others are hard at work designing posters and banners. Their work will be displayed for years, leaving a legacy that future classes will try to meet or exceed.”

Since 2006, this successful program has expanded at Edison, and is now a part of three other high school programs. It’s refreshing to hear this success story, especially during a time when we are inundated with more discouraging tales about our schools.

Mills writes about their students, “They will move on, some pursuing a career in the Graphic Arts, some going their separate ways, but hopefully they will leave with a lasting impression of what they learned here. A sense of purpose, work ethic, and confidence are necessary as they move on in their education and life.”

Congratulations on this good work, Ink Well.  I look forward to bringing more business here in the future.

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