The Cut, Paste & Copy class at New Milford High School has a long history rooted in creativity, professionalism and business.

Over the years, the graphic design business course has evolved technology-wise with the times, and has created and provided design, graphic and print materials throughout the school system and the community.

Most importantly, however, CPC has equipped students with skills they can use in their everyday lives.

Much of the course's success is due to its founder, Paula Marian, who retired Wednesday at the close of the 2013-14 school year after 26 years of teaching.

"(She's) done a phenomenal job," said Chealsee Kalivas, a second-year CPC student who graduated this year, of Marian, head of the art department.

"She leads us to the information on how to solve a problem instead of solving it for us. She's always smiling no matter how hard the day is and she really enjoys what she does," Chealsee related. "She has really made a lifelong commitment to teaching."

Principal Greg Shugrue has high regard for what Marian has accomplished at NMHS.

"Paula should be credited to have the vision, the drive, and determination to develop a wonderful program that is Cut Paste & Copy," he said. "The students over the years have used the viable market skills learned in this program to set them on a course for their own dreams and pursuits."

"She has done so much for the art department and CPC," he added, "and will be dearly missed. I wish her happiness and joy in her retirement."

Past students are well aware of the impact Marian has had on their lives.

"Over the years, (Paula) has fought tirelessly for equipment, budget, and even classroom space to ensure the CPC vision became and stayed a reality," said Chris Rigdon, a student in the first CPC class in the fall of 1991.

"She has touched a countless number of students through CPC and has given them valuable skills for their professional toolbox to enter into the business world," he said.

Carol Kelley, who has taught art part time at Schaghticoke Middle School and NMHS, will spearhead CPC beginning next year.

"She's a lovely person," Marian said of Kelley, emphasizing how Kelley will assume CPC responsibilities smoothly.

Cut, Paste & Copy

success

The CPC course has developed a positive reputation over the years and is a popular choice for many students.

In fact, only 14 students are accepted each year, after applying and being interviewed for the course. Other applicants' are placed on a waiting list.

Marian said she looks for students who are "team players" and "who have something." They must be committed, as they meet 80 minutes each day of the school week, all while earning credits.

Students work on Macs and utilize Creative Suites as they learn to operate digital drawing boards, scanners, printers and digital cameras to produce posters, fliers, brochures, books, bookmarks, calendars, placemats, business cards, T-shirts, logo designs and more for the schools and nonprofit community.

The course not only focuses on design, but emphasizes and equips young adults with employability skills, such as time management, public speaking, problem solving, client relationships, interviewing and more.

Since the program models a business, students must meet clients, complete tasks, perform self-evaluations during the year and wear name badges.

"Because of CPC, I know when I go to college, I'm going to have a class already completed and have confidence in myself because I've learned skills so many people my age don't know," Chealsee said.

Marian emphasized how the course teaches students "how to persevere, how to overcome obstacles," important traits in the real world.

"The confidence I gained from this class is monumental," Chealsee related.

She praised the CPC advisory board, developed by Marian and made up of professionals in the advertising/graphic design and printing business, for having "some of the best in the field (and who) are always ready to help assist the students at a moment's notice."

"Knowing that we already have those connections before we get out of school, in my opinion, helps me feel more relaxed about entering the real world," Chealsee said.

Additionally, students participate in local and national contests, and have taken part in the After School Arts Program photo contest.

"What amazes me each year is the level of interest the kids have in the design field," said Rigdon, an advisory board member.

Students are interactive, ask questions and even ask for critiques of their work, Rigdon said, citing his experiences with students during a student job shadow or a visit to the CPC classroom.

"Regardless of the topic the kids are always very professional and into whatever or whomever they are working with at the time," Rigdon related. "This is a direct reflection of their instructor, Paula Marian."

Paula Marian: the arts and beyond

While CPC has been her flagship, Marian has also served in other roles.

Early in her career, she taught a financial services course, was involved with Green Wave Enterprises and the school's bank.

She has taught numerous courses in the art department, including ceramics I and II, advanced art and design, beginner's ceramics and advanced ceramics.

She founded the NMHS Senior Art Show 25 years ago, an off-campus event that showcases senior artists, and started a NMHS art sale, for which proceeds aid the community.

Many of her students attended art school upon graduation, and many past students are art teachers, she said.

"Paula is an innovator, a go-getter and a non-stop force in the art department," said fellow teacher Annette Marcus, who has known Marian for 31 years. "I believe that through her energetic promotion of high school art in this town, we are always reporting major and minor accomplishments by our young artists and have grown respectably in this district."

Marcus noted how art activities, such as the Senior Art Show, can inspire younger children to pursue their dreams.

"I feel proud," Marian said of her 26-year career. "I feel I've left a legacy in the art department."

Marcus emphasized how Marian has done "an excellent job keeping the arts in the public eye."

"We here in the art department at NMHS will, of course, carry on the work she began and we wish her well in her retirement," Marcus said.

Marian's days ahead won't be in a classroom with students, but they will be just as focused.

The longtime potter looks forward to spending more time in her studio, where she can focus on pottery, an art she did professionally for 15 years before she began teaching