On Tuesday, May 16, seven upperclassmen from the Honors Advanced Studies class presented a year’s worth of research on a topic of their choice to friends, family, students and staff.
Their presentations covered a wide variety of creative subjects, including architecture, photography and two different types of animation—2D (traditional) and 3D.
Each student met with a local mentor throughout the year who works in their field of interest. Julie Francis, the Honors Advanced Studies teacher, paired some students with adults she already knew wanted to participate in the exchange, while other students reached out to prospective mentors on their own.
The project was entirely student-led with only minimal guidance from Francis. She explained that the presentations were so successful because they allowed students to explore something they are truly passionate about, no matter the subject.
Senior Emma Richardson spent the year researching traditional animation, something she plans to continue studying in college next year at UNC School of the Arts. Her interest in animation comes from her passion for art (specifically drawing) and a desire to pursue this passion professionally.
“I’m interested in the development of characters in stories, and I have a background in art, so I hope to apply this to to a job,” said Richardson.
Junior Jack Clemens chose to study something he was less familiar with: web design. His interests come less from a professional goal and more out of curiosity.
“[Web design] interested me, but I didn’t really know how to do it,” said Clemens.
The students acted as professionals, dressing up in business attire and wearing microphones in order to be heard by the auditorium’s sizable audience. Principal Laverne Mattocks and Vice Principal James Hopkins both attended the presentations and asked the students questions.
During her presentation, Richardson explored older and newer technology for traditional, 2D animation. She also talked about personal experience she has with different animation tech- niques and shared a storyboard for a character she created.
Junior Ethan Reid also focused the year on learning animation techniques, but he studied 3D animation. He explained the differences between 3D and 2D, as well as important movement patterns to keep in mind when creating a final product.
Reid concluded his presentation with an example of a successful animation which follows the 12 rules for creating realistic 3D movement, as well as an unsuccessful example to contrast.
Francis emphasized the fact that, for all the students, preparing for the presentations was no easy task.
“They have been practicing really hard to show you what they learned this year,” said Francis before presentations commenced.
Whether or not they plan to continue pursuing these passions, the students’ knowledge and engagement with the audience serve testimony to the amount of work they dedicated to their projects.