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74 Creative: NCAPS student venture now open for business

Rita Brhel

Leah Mueller, Breanna Brennfoerder, and Emily Watts work on a T-Shirt Design for 74 Creative at NCAPS.


74 Creative: NCAPS student venture now open for business

Clay County News  By: Rita Brhel

This fall, Clay Center’s Noah Shackelford will head off to the University of Nebraska-Kearney to major in molecular biology with his sights set on med school.

But for now, the Sandy Creek senior sits in front of a large screen dissecting video and adding audio segments to the latest of a client’s commercial commissioned through a new student-run business called 74 Creative.

“I think the business is a really great opportunity for students,” said Shackelford, the creative director for 74 Creative’s video production team. “Whatever you can do to get people experience, it’s experience however you cut it.”

74 Creative is the latest addition to the Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional Studies (NCAPS), located on SC’s campus near Fairfield. NCAPS also provides career training, student mentorships with professionals, and dual-credit college classes to juniors and seniors from various high schools in the area. 

“The NCAPS experience is great,” said Jeremy Borer, NCAPS instructor and faculty advisor for 74 Creative’s video production team. “We think this can impact a lot of our kids, too.”

74 Creative is so named because of its proximity to Highway 74, he added.



Last year, Shackelford and current SC senior Derek Story, of Clay Center, co-wrote the grant application to get 74 Creative off the ground—under the guidance of NCAPS director Dr. Stan Essink and faculty advisors Borer, Nanette Shackelford, and Spencer Schoof. 

NCAPS was then awarded a $85,362 reVISION Action Grant by the Nebraska Department of Education. The funds were used to purchase industry-standard equipment for the student business, which encompasses precision machining, advanced manufacturing, CNC laser engraving, video production, graphic design, t-shirt design, vinyl signage, and marketing.

While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the business launch somewhat, 74 Creative has been active through the current school year filling out the student leadership structure, training students on new equipment, developing products, and securing business deals. 

In addition to working one-on-one with clients, Essink noted that 74 Creative’s future plans include offering a product line through an online store and involving business students in the bookkeeping side of entrepreneurship.



Business profits return to 74 Creative to cover expenses, though Shackelford affirmed that the real benefit isn’t monetary but rather the hands-on experience that students are gaining in business management, client relations, mastering new technology, and professional-level teamwork with other students.

“Working with other people is a huge part of it,” he said.

All students enrolled in NCAPS or SC’s related classes are involved in 74 Creative, working on the projects during their regular class times—although student leaders, like Shackelford, whose responsibilities include ensuring that projects are completed on deadline, squeeze in extra work outside of the scheduled class time as needed.



Shackelford has been coordinating a video project for B Bar L Hereford Cattle LLC. He estimated that the project would take two weeks for total production time, including filming and editing. 

The Juniata farm had ordered one of three video packages ranging in price from $250 for a 30-second commercial to $1,000 for a comprehensive promotional bundle—each tier also including air time on SC and 74 Creative social media channels, Striv, and the onsite video board at SC athletic events with the advertising potential of reaching an audience of several hundred or more across south-central Nebraska. 

“The goal is for 74 Creative to be a self-sustaining business,” Borer said. “We offer high-quality products at competitive prices, and they [clients] can support our kids.”

One of B Bar L Hereford’s promotional videos can be found on 74 Creative’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/SeventyFourCreative/. 

Other recent video production clients include Nebraska Senator Dave Murman of Glenvil and Brodstone Memorial Hospital in Superior. 74 Creative has also produced promotional videos for NCAPS.

(For more information about 74 Creative’s video production services and product pricing, email 74creative@southcentralusd.us or call 402-726-2151 and ask for Mr. Borer.)



While Shackelford pieced together video clips on the second floor of the NCAPS building, manufacturing students were downstairs receiving training on how to use the laser engraver. They experimented with programming the machine to engrave the 74 Creative logo onto a wooden board.

Back upstairs, three SC students—senior Breanna Brennfoerder of Edgar, sophomore Leiah Mueller of Harvard, and freshman Emily Watts of Edgar—were troubleshooting how to use new equipment for t-shirt designs. All three enjoy art classes at SC and liked the idea of combining this interest with a business venture.

“It’s really neat to see how all the parts come together,” said Watts, who hopes to split her time next school year between both t-shirt design and the bookkeeping side of 74 Creative.

As underclassmen, Mueller and Watts will return next fall to join 74 Creative’s student leadership team. 

Brennfoerder will be attending Hastings College in the fall to major in music education. With future plans of starting her own business, Brennfoerder appreciated being part of 74 Creative this year.

“Getting a chance to run a business is really cool,” she said. “It’s been fun to learn. Even if you don’t run a business in the future, it’s good to learn how to be in a business.”


Note: The public will be able to view a laser engraving demo on April 24. The NCAPS building will be open during SC’s FFA Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.