COSTA MESA, Calif. — A program at Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa is giving students an opportunity to run a business while learning entrepreneurial skills and preparing for careers in graphic media.

The Newport Mesa Unified School District kicked off the Spyder Lab this school year. It’s a yearlong, hands-on program that teaches and certifies students in how to use machinery, such as direct-to-garment machines, laser engraving and more.

Students create T-shirts, keychains, stickers, banners and more for customers while learning to run a business.


There was a time when Back Bay High School senior Davian Gonzalez didn’t look forward to going to school or planning for college, but that changed once he stepped foot into the Spyder Lab on campus.

This school year, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District unveiled the program as part of its Business Management Career Technical Education pathway, which features professional machines for embroidering, engraving, cutting, sublimation and more.

“Students come out of here with real-world experience,” said teacher Jason Kovac. “They’re not only getting soft skills that will be transferrable to a business environment, but they’re also gaining technical skills.”

In this year-long class, students serve as sales representatives, office managers and creative directors.

Student Davian proudly showed Spectrum News 1 reporter Jo Kwon a T-shirt he designed for the district’s football league.

“It’s so cool to see people wearing this shirt on campus,” said Davian. “They don’t know who made it, but I do.”

©2024  Spyder Lab


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