An Easter egg design created by LHS seniors Taylor Battle, left, and Jade Rodrigues, right, was chosen to represent New Jersey at the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll. The students were guided by graphic design teacher Debby Heffernan.
By Gary Miller
A lot of people were surprised to see an Easter Egg design created by a pair of Linden High School students on display at the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House.
No one was more surprised than the students themselves.
“Shocked,” said senior Taylor Battle, who created the design with classmate Jade Rodrigues. “It just didn’t seem like it could be possible. We were competing against a bunch of different schools. So it was a little – ‘Wow!’ – in awe.”
The design was chosen to represent all of New Jersey at the 140th annual event on Monday, April 2. The U.S. Department of Education invited students nationally to design an egg reflective of their home state. Designs had to be emblematic of the state, including elements such as the state flower or state bird. Students from more than a dozen schools across New Jersey submitted their Easter egg designs to the state Department of Education for consideration, and the Linden High School’s design was selected unanimously.
Rodrigues pointed out that their design incorporated many different elements to represent the diversity of New Jersey.
“We have a whole pattern going on,” she said. “So it’s not just the state, or just the bird, or just the blueberry. We also have the Jersey Shore, which is a big part of New Jersey, and the state motto, ‘Liberty and Prosperity.’ ”
The girls had to stay within certain guidelines laid out in a design brief from the U.S. Department of Education. Among those was a palate of five Pantone colors that had to be incorporated into the design.
“I feel like one of the biggest hurdles was the limits on the colors we could use,” Battle explained. “Especially with the state flower being the violet. We couldn’t make it purple, so we had to use the next best thing.”
They credited graphic design teacher Debby Heffernan with teaching them the computer skills they needed, helping them work within the color scheme, as well as to make sure they got the work done by deadline.
“I think the knowledge that they use in class all year helped them execute the project,” Heffernan said. “I try to treat them like designers and I’m the art director, like a real-world experience.
“I am so proud of my students. They embraced this challenge. It has truly been a pleasure guiding them as they worked on this project.”
Both young women plan to continue their artistic pursuits after graduation. Rodrigues will study interior design and architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology, with hopes of one day running her own interior-design studio. Battle plans to major in architecture at Kean University and develop an art-related career.
The two said they worked well together on the egg project, sketching out possible designs, dividing up the job of designing the separate elements, then coming together to create the overall pattern.
“They worked as a team developing their ideas to create a beautiful design,” Heffernan said. “Taylor and Jade’s enthusiasm for the project is evident in their excellent work.”
New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet sent along his congratulations to the young women, and Linden Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi said the honor was well-deserved.
“We couldn’t be prouder that Taylor and Jade had their work displayed at the White House,” Robertozzi said. “The design is amazing and really captures the beauty and diversity of New Jersey. I also want to give credit to our graphic arts teacher Debby Heffernan, whose dedication to her students allows them to flourish.”