Mattoon teen designs Coles County Make-A-Wish convoy T-shirt

Recent Mattoon High School graduate Isabelle Whitney has designed fundraising T-shirts that are being sold as part of the June 29 Coles County Truck Convoy for Make-A-Wish Illinois. Whitney is shown holding the shirt with Joy Eggers, vice president of the truck convoy board.

MATTOON — Recent Mattoon High School graduate Isabelle Whitney has designed fundraising T-shirts that are being sold as part of the June 29 Coles County Truck Convoy for Make-A-Wish Illinois.

The semitruck imagery designed by Whitney, 17, symbolizes the more than 100 big trucks that are scheduled to convoy from the Coles County Fairgrounds to downtown Mattoon and back.

Joy Eggers, vice president of the truck convoy board, said the event's volunteers were brainstorming ideas at an organizational meeting this spring when one of the Mattoon High School JROTC cadets there suggested asking the school's graphic arts program to design a T-shirt for the inaugural convoy. This idea led to Whitney's involvement in the project.

"They are our future. They are jumping into it," Eggers said of all the teens who have been helping with the convoy.

Whitney said she first heard about the convoy's need for a T-shirt this spring while she was taking teacher Laura Roberts' Graphic Arts 2 class. She said students in this class earn dual credit for Lake Land College while working in a print shop-like setting.

As part of this class, Whitney said she got to make a two-piece banner for the school district's bus garage and various slips for school office needs. Whitney said she was particularly honored to be assigned to design the convoy T-shirt.

"It has been really cool creating something that will be part of a bigger project," Whitney said. "It's so heart touching for me. I love giving back to people."

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Whitney said she narrowed a selection of possible big truck images to the semitruck that looks like it is ready to drive out of the T-shirt. The semitruck is bordered by distressed looking lettering and by color splotches that convey the power of this vehicle.

"We have loved the shirt from the beginning. We think it is very good," Eggers said of the T-shirt design.

Whitney, who now works at Wave Graphics in Mattoon, she said plans to attend Lake Land College this fall and to eventually transfer to the University of Illinois to major in engineering or marketing with an emphasis in graphic design.

The T-shirts can be purchased by calling Eggers at 217-254-1331 or by visiting the Coles County Truck Convoy page on Facebook. She said orders will be taken until the week before the convoy.

Proceeds from the Coles County Truck Convoy project will help with Make-A-Wish Illinois' efforts to grant wishes for critically ill children. Eggers said Hubbartt's Downtown Diner will sell breakfast food and Kep's Cooking will sell pulled pork and pork chops on June 29 at the fairgrounds to raise money for Make-A-Wish.

Eggers said the event also will offer free activities for families, including inflatable games and obstacle courses, carnival-style games, a roving magician and an appearance by "Ice Road Truckers" driver George Spear.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud

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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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