Press pro

Mallory runs printing at Lindale for 42 years


Photo by Lily and Drew

Schick. Schick. Schick. He listens to the sounds of the modern machines around him. Suddenly, he thinks back to over forty years ago, to a different time, and a different print shop. He remembers when he began at Lindale – and when he learned more than he taught.

Printing teacher Tommy Mallory has been the printing teacher at Lindale for 42 consecutive years. He has done many printing jobs for the district, including printing the LHS Eagle Eye this past semester.

“The first class I taught, there was a lot of learning going on that year, and I did most of it,” Mallory said. “It was a learning experience for me at first, but I’ve gotten better over the years. We’ve come a long way since we started the program.”

When Mallory was in high school and college, he worked for several places where he worked on his printing skills. After high school he worked at a printing company in Tyler, then in Mineola.

“When I was a student at Lindale High School, I worked for the Lindale newspaper where we did a weekly newspaper and commercial printing every day,” Mallory said. “I just got into printing that way, so I decided to keep working at it when I got out of high school. There wasn’t a whole lot of room for advancement if you didn’t have college, so I moved around a few times, working at a printing plant in Tyler, then I moved to Mineola and worked in a publishing company.”

The print program began over 40 years ago when LISD hired a new superintendent. That superintendent came from a school that had a printing program and wanted to implement one at LISD.

“We had a new superintendent at Lindale that my mother worked with, and he had just come from a school that had a printing program and he could see the good it was doing for the school and for the students,” Mallory said. “When he found out I worked in the printing industry he asked me to come talk to him and he told me he would like to start the class in the Lindale school district, so that was how I got started in teaching.”

While working at LISD, Mallory went to school at Texas A&M Commerce to get his degree.

“I was going to school and working, then I started teaching,” Mallory said. “It was a drastic change in my life, but definitely for the better. It was something that I was looking for and its been a rewarding career. I feel like I’ve done good, I haven’t gotten rich, but I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished.”

Mallory says the biggest changing in the printing program has been the advancement of the machines. The printing lab received its first computer in 1993 and switched from developing pictures in the darkroom to printing them off a computer.

“When we started out the machines were primitive,” Mallory said. “Now our machines are professional sized and we’ve got color digital presses. Computers came along very fast and it really changed the printing process. The major change in this class over the years has been the digital technology.”

Mallory does printing jobs such as envelopes and letterheads for the school. He said his most difficult printing jobs have been things such as magazines and calendars for the Media, Art and English departments.

“Printing the school newspaper was a challenge,” Mallory said. “The school publications I’ve done have probably been the most challenging. I’ve done the lit mag for the english department and a calendar for the art department. Those are always challenging jobs because the quality has to be very good.”