Stickers have been an integral part of Jakprints since we started in 1999. Stickers are stuck everywhere in the shop, but one wall in particular is covered– and we mean covered. From top to bottom, the wall underneath can’t be seen. Layers of stickers have accumulated on this lobby wall over the years from bands, businesses and clothing lines. So we were pretty excited when a high school teacher from Pennsylvania reached out to us for some stickers to put on wall of his own.
Tom Mooney started teaching 12th grade English at North Allegheny Senior High School in Wexford, Pennsylvania 14 years ago, but his love for stickers started way before that. We were thrilled to hear that a print product was making such an impact, so we asked Tom how it all began.
I’ve always loved stickers. I’ve covered my basement doors, desks and now a wall of my classroom. Stickers are this small art form that usually has real visual appeal. No one is interested in a boring sticker. A cool sticker gives you pause. You stop and consider the perfect place for it. It has value.
I wanted to prove to students that writing has an impact, so I had them write a business letter to companies they were interested in. Responses came pouring in, and pretty soon the classroom was covered in response letters. We decided to change things up this year and email companies to request a sticker from their brand. Stickers came in from all over the world, and the wall was the best way to display them. It’s really taken off from there.
I have personally received 89 responses, and that’s just from the companies I’ve contacted. We’ve had companies from Canada, France and even Norway send stickers. We’ve gotten stickers from local businesses and even a small shaved ice vendor in Hawaii. I’ve lost count of how many responses we’ve received. It’s wonderful.
It’s infectious. It’s not just my class that is involved anymore. A student of mine has a younger sister that has started contacting companies on her own. She has a spreadsheet of several thousand stickers she’s received. Thousands! The yearbook is planning a page about the wall. My colleagues have started reaching out to people on their own time. I’m not one for fanfare, but I’ll admit it’s humbling.
This project is another way to show students what writing can do. It proves that companies are people and that people like to help. Writing is a powerful tool that can tie people together who might’ve never made the connection without it. The stickers that companies send us are physical representations of that connection.
Tom’s sticker wall is an example of the power that print products and writing hold. Both writing and stickers are thought provoking, raise awareness and bring people together. Jakprints is happy to have contributed to the class sticker wall, and we hope the project continues for years to come.