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Work at Pixar or Go to College: What About Both?

College track or career track? One Sacramento-area high school shows there's no difference between the two.


College track or career track? Students and teachers in the animation program at Sheldon High School in Sacramento, California say there shouldn't be a difference between the two.

Students enrolled in the school's cutting edge program, K9 Studios, get animation expertise that can get them in the door at top studios like Pixar, Disney, and Cartoon Network. And, since the practical career-based skills and knowledge that you need to be an animator can't be separated from a sound math, science, and writing foundation, students also remain on a traditional college track.

Shawn Sullivan, the founder of the program, calls his brand of applied learning "stealth teaching" since animation requires both academic knowledge and technical skill. Students have to apply math concepts when they're plotting x-y animation coordinates on computers, not to mention biology and zoology concepts when creating a character's anatomical and muscular structure. They also get plenty of writing practice when they're storyboarding the films they create.

Students say the practical experience helps them decide on college majors, while also developing skills like teamwork and time management. Senior Juan Luis Bravo says his experience working as a director is also working in his favor when it comes to college admissions: "When I went down to interview at USC, they were really impressed by that."

Thumbnail photo (cc) by Flickr user Listen Up.

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