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School District Five students create new display for Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park

For Immediate Release – December 16, 2019



School District Five students create new display for Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park

IRMO – The Center for Advanced Technical Studies partnered with the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission for a second year in a row to create a new display for the annual Holiday Lights on the River event at Saluda Shoals Park. Students from three different programs at The Center collaborated to bring the project to life. The students were commissioned to conceptualize, design, create, and light the new display.  Last year students made Tracy the Triceratops, and this year they made a volcano display.


“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to apply the knowledge and skills they learned at The Center in the design and development of a product guided by a customer’s specifications,” said Dr. Al Gates, Director of Career and Technical Education at The Center. “We were excited to be asked and are ecstatic with the final creation.  We look forward to continuing this project next year with Saluda Shoals and the creation of a new display.”


School District Five students Tabby Lo and Lauren VanMiddlesworth in the Digital Art and Design program at The Center volunteered to design the light display.  They decided to design a volcano to accompany the dinosaur students built last year.


“I didn’t really know in my head what the final product would look like because a piece of paper and an Ipad is very different from what it is going to look like in real life,” said VanMiddlesworth. “We originally didn’t plan for it to be that big but I think it is a good thing that it is large.”


Lo says she is excited to be able to create something for families to enjoy during the holiday season.  She said, “It’s a great and fun opportunity to show off the Digital Art Class and what we do as interns.  It’s just so much fun to see your design up there and know that you created it.  I don’t know how to describe it, but it is just amazing!”


Once the design was finalized, the project shifted to the Welding program where student Titus Lee began working on constructing the new display. After forging the metal to meet the specified dimensions, the appropriate welds were made to complete the structure.


Lee said, “From the start it was very tricky because I had to figure out how to dimension the drawing that I was given and put it into real life.  It was a fun process because it was something new and was more than just welding in the booth.  This project gave me something to use my skills on.”


The final step in the project was to add the holiday lighting.  Students from the Electrical Design program assisted with the installation of the lights.


The Superintendent of Operations and Facilities at the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, Jay Downs, said partnering with The Center helps to make their holiday lights show even better.  “We get what we call holiday lights fatigue syndrome because it is such a big and ominous task for us to do every year,” Downs said.  “Coming out here and seeing the students work on it is very refreshing and fun to watch because their enthusiasm is really wrapped around it.”


The Center for Advanced Technical Studies in School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties serves students in all four district high schools and provides career-focused, high wage and high-tech academic programs and courses to prepare students to be college and career ready upon graduation.

The Volcano and Tracy the Triceratops will be on display with over 400 other animated displays until Monday, December 31 during the Holiday Lights on the River event at Saluda Shoals Park. Visit for more information.