Cedar Hill Senior Marion Smith Gained Confidence Through Competition

Marion Smith with statue
Marion Smith Photo courtesy CHISD

Cedar Hill Senior Makes History In Advertising Design

Spread the word, Cedar Hill High School senior Marion Smith made history.

Oh, wait, he can do that himself as he clearly knows more than a thing or two about advertising. Never was this more evident than when Smith won a gold medal at the state SkillsUSA Competition in advertising design held recently at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi.

Smith is the first student from Cedar Hill to qualify for the national competition, which will be held in Atlanta June 19-24.

“Though I am the first person to qualify, I believe it was a joint effort between everyone in my SkillsUSA group, my family, and especially my graphic design teacher Mr. (Aaron) Kennedy,” Smith said. “While I put in a lot of work myself outside of school, I owe it all to them for the reason I got this far. So, I believe it was because of CHISD that I got to this point so I am very thankful to be in this position as the first national qualifier.”

At the state competition, Smith said contestants were given a prompt telling them they must create an advertisement for military families about a 2023 Air Force Art contest. They could not use the internet, but they were given some resources to use, such as photos and vectors. Furthermore, there’s another section of the competition called the “mechanical” where they must recreate a design given to them.


This is Smith’s second straight year competing at the state level, competing in ad design and pin design last year. However, he ranked outside of the top 10.

“SkillsUSA is a wonderful competition, and it’s a testament to Marion Smith’s talent, dedication, and attention to detail that he is now headed to the National Competition in Atlanta. Cedar Hill ISD is very proud,” said Tyesha Smith Lowe, Cedar Hill ISD Executive Director of Innovation.

Other than SkillsUSA, Smith said he has not been a part of any other competitions for his art.

“The reason for this is that I was not confident in my art despite everyone telling me it was great. So, I spent most of my young years just trying to love my art enough to share it with others,” he explained. “Even when I won my first gold medals last year, I was still unsure about my capabilities. However, I am now at a point where I fully believe in all of my designs.”

Smith does not come from an advertising family. However, his brother used to create advertisement videos for small businesses in Cedar Hill while he was in high school.
Smith said his current plan for the future – though he laughed and noted it changes a lot – is to become a user experience designer while also doing branding design and freelance work as a graphic designer.

“What drew me to this field was my love for both storytelling and graphic design, and I believe advertisement is a perfect mix of the two as it often includes writing and art that tries to attract the viewer’s eyes,” he said.

Smith is enrolled to join The University of Texas at Arlington in Fall 2023 with a major in communication technology and a minor in communication design.

“I am in an organization named Texas Leadership Scholars that will teach me leadership skills that I can use in the outside world,” he said.

“I encourage every student to research SkillsUSA and join the program if it is offered at your school. It allows students to grow in the fields that they are interested in, such as culinary, art, film, wielder, public speaking, leadership, and much much more. It also will give you lifetime peers that will help your growth as you begin to explore life outside of high school.”

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters