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ACTE Excellence Awards

2017 Student Trophy Design Contest



2017 student contest banner

ACTE is excited to announce our second annual student contest to re-design the 3D-printed trophies for the ACTE Excellence Awards. The winning trophy design will be 3D-printed by Stratasys and presented to the 10 national award winners at the 2017 ACTE Awards Banquet in Nashville, Tennessee. The 2017 Student Trophy Design Contest will be open for entries until May 1, 2017. The first-place design team will receive:

  • $1,000 scholarship prize for the winning team
  • NEW THIS YEAR: a free one-year lease of a 3D printer and materials for the winner's school, courtesy of Stratasys
  • paid travel trip to Nashville, Tennessee for the winner and teacher to be recognized at the 2017 ACTE Awards Banquet in front of ACTE award winners, leaders, and 400+ attendees
  • and more!

 Download the flyer or see contest details below.

2016 winning trophy

Learn more about the 2016 winning design and designer.

The ACTE Excellence Awards promote excellence in career and technical education (CTE). Since 1954, ACTE has recognized those individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to CTE, programs that have exemplified the highest standards and organizations that have demonstrated leadership in promoting and expanding CTE programs. Award winners serve as inspirational leaders to ACTE: they embody the core values of serving students and being committed to CTE.  

2017 ACTE Award Winners group 1

Learn more about the 2017 ACTE Excellence Award winners.

Awards Portal

Thanks to Stratasys, we are pleased to continue presenting these unique trophies that not only celebrate but embody ACTE's core values. Created by cutting-edge technology, the trophies manifest CTE's role in preparing students for 21st century careers and harness the power of collaboration between CTE and business and industry partners. With the inception of the design contest, the trophies will not only celebrate CTE but showcase the talents of its greatest achievement: its students. 

See how the awards were made below!




What is the goal?
The goal for contest entrants is to design a trophy to celebrate the ACTE Excellence Award winners

What is the prize?
The first-place designers will receive:

  • $1,000 scholarship prize for the winning team
  • a free one-year lease of a 3D printer and materials for the winner's school, courtesy of Stratasys  
  • paid travel trip to Nashville, Tennessee for the winner and teacher to be recognized at the 2017 ACTE Awards Banquet in front of ACTE award winners, leaders, and 400+ attendees
  • a 3D-printed copy of their award, courtesy of Stratasys
  • one year complimentary ACTE membership for the student(s) and their teacher
  • recognition in ACTE's promotional channels and Techniques magazine

Who can enter?
The contest is open to secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE students in 3D design courses or other CAD courses. Students may enter as individuals or as teams of no more than two (2) people. All team members must be enrolled as students in an educational institution during the semester/term in which they contribute to the design. Each entry must be entirely the original work of the persons identified in the entry. The contest is not open to any persons employed, past or present, as a professional in 3D printing.

Can educators help with their students' projects?
Educators may advise students, but should not take on a significant role in developing the designs.

How do I enter the contest?
Teams should submit their entries online via the ACTE Awards Portal by May 1, 2017.  



  • Team information & completed release form 
  • Brief bio (300 words max)
  • Photo/headshot of entrant(s)
  • Design file (see requirements below)


  • DIMENSIONS: The design should be no larger than 10" tall x 6" wide x 6" deep. If your design is larger, please scale down the STL file before submitting.
  • DESIGN ELEMENTS: The design must incorporate:
  • the ACTE logo
  • a flat surface on the bottom of the design [4"- 6" in diameter] so the trophy can be affixed to a wooden base.
  • FILE FORMAT: Your entry must be submitted as an STL file, which can be exported from most CAD software packages (see more information on how to export an STL file here). We will not accept any other file type.


Do you have any tips for my design?
When the selection team reviews the designs, they will consider the following:

  • Is the design visually appealing and interesting? Does it make creative use of 3D space?
  • Can you envision this design being used as the template for a national award trophy?
  • Is the design printable and will it withstand travel to and from the ACTE conference? (ex. not too fragile or breakable as a 3D object)

Career and technical education (CTE) covers a large variety of content areas (learn more about CTE here). It is recommended that designs do not allude to one specific content area (ex. agricultural education), as teachers from all CTE content areas are eligible for the Excellence Awards. Designs should reflect the prestige and values of the ACTE Excellence Awards program. The winning design for the ACTE Excellence Awards trophy will be creative, visually appealing, and adhere to the required specifications. Aside from the ACTE logo, we do not recommend designers incorporate words in their design (ex. 'Teacher of the Year,' etc.) 

Who will be judging the designs?
Designs will be reviewed by Stratasys and ACTE staff to ensure they meet design specs. ACTE will select the winner. Winners will be notified August 2017.

What's the fine print?
ACTE retains the copyright on any submitted material and reserves the right to use the material, edit the design to accommodate production needs in any way or format it sees fit.

For more information or questions about submissions, please contact ACTE staff at awards@acteonline.org or call 800-826-9972, ext. 305.


2016 Student Trophy Design Contest

In September 2016, ACTE announced the winner of the first-ever Student Trophy Design Contest: Matthew Gump, a rising senior at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read the press release. Matthew's design was used as the template for producing the 3D-printed trophies that were presented to the national Excellence Award winners at the 2016 Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, Nevada. Matthew was recognized on stage at the event, along with his instructor, Jennifer Renne, and presented with a $1,000 scholarship, courtesy of Stratasys. 

Matthew Gump Banquet
Left to right: Michael Block from Stratasys; Matthew Gump; Jennifer Renne

"3D modeling and CAD drawing has given me a form of expression I could have never imagined. Since I was never talented or interested in the traditional arts like sculpting or painting, I had found myself confined in the realm of music and other other performance arts despite a chronic itch for something more visual, that is, until I had begun my CAD drawing classes. CAD has given me an opportunity to express myself and actually see those forms of expression become reality. It has given me new interests and goals in the fields of architecture and rendering. It has created a new side of me, a new side which sees the arrays in salt shakers, the pinches in car bodies, and the pure wonder in mass production. Though manufacturing and computer designs of desks and park bathrooms may seem unusual and not particularly artsy, I believe it is simply another thing of beauty, one seen every single day of our lives. The ACTE trophy design contest has given me an opportunity to expand my skillset beyond everyday objects and into something abstract, something made purely from human thought, and for that I am grateful." - Matthew Gump




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