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Shepard student dazzles with drafting design

ChristinKotas Shepard High School took 3 years computer-aided drafting classes was Regional ChampiIllinois Drafting EducatiAssociatiArchitectural Computer-Aided Drafting 3D competition.

Christina Kotas, of Shepard High School, took 3 years of computer-aided drafting classes and was the Regional Champion in the Illinois Drafting Education Association Architectural Computer-Aided Drafting 3D competition. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 13, 2013 6:01AM



Reading, writing and arithmetic are educational basics, but schools offer much more these days. So when it came time for Christina Kotas to choose her classes as a freshman at Shepard High School in Palos Heights, she took Introduction to CAD for one reason: It sounded interesting.

The class in computer-aided drafting sparked more than her interest. It opened a potential career path.

As a sophomore, Kotas signed up for an architecture and engineering class. Then last year, as a junior, she took computer-aided graphics. Each year, this particular class participates in the Illinois Drafting Education Association Architectural competition for computer-aided 3D drafting. When Kotas had to choose a category in which to compete, she chose architecture.

“They give you a blueprint of a house with dimensions and they tell you what needs to be in the house. You have to copy it and create it all in Inventor, a software program. In order to compete you have to do it in the class and then you do it again for the competition,” Kotas said.

The house created by Kotas, 17, had all the basics: a garage, kitchen, living room, bathrooms (including a master bath) and bedrooms. Kotas’ work earned her the regional championship in the competition.

“I ended up winning because I had more dimensions and more specifics in the house than the other competitors,” she said. “For example, in the kitchen, I had all the utilities that had to be there but I also included a stove and a microwave.”

Kotas, a senior-to-be, would take another course in drafting if there were one.

“But there isn’t a fourth year for this, so I’m trying something else,” she said.

This setback hasn’t dampened her interest in drafting as a career.

Kotas isn’t looking to become an architect at this juncture, but she is contemplating pursuing a degree in engineering.

She said her teacher in the drafting classes, Mike Oziemkowski, is her mentor.

“He definitely helped me grow. He’s shown me how to do a lot of different things and I can definitely go to him for help,” said Kotas, who also has earned Honors with Distinction, the highest academic honor a student can achieve in Community High School District 218.

The daughter of Connie and Brian Kotas, of Alsip, Kotas also plays soccer at school. Her activities have taught her time management, which helps with grades.

“I know that I have to get things done in a certain amount of time in order to have after-school activities. I have to get things done so I can do both things,” she said.

She said her parents want her to maintain her good grades.

“So I do everything I can to keep those up,” she said. “I also want to keep going. I don’t want to stop doing computer-aided graphics, architecture or engineering.”



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