The HHS Gaming Academy: Now and the Future

By: Malena Esposito

The Game Art and Design Academy was created in 2013 at Heritage High School with a purpose of providing a focus to students interested in the media and entertainment industries. The Academy began with only 25 students, and nearly four years later, it has expanded to almost quadruple the initial amount.

In addition to the Game Art and Design Academy, current sophomores were also apart of the first year of the Husky Academy at Heritage. The Husky Academy was put in place for upcoming freshman to have an easier time adjusting to the high school environment. Many sophomores agreed that together, these two academies helped them meet people of the same age with similar interests. “It made it a lot easier to find friends. You’re all in one big classroom together every day, so you do end up making relationships with them,” said sophomore Eli Glick.

So, why the Game Art and Design Academy? Why did students at Heritage choose to be apart of this learning experience? “Ever since I was really young, I wanted to become an animator, but there weren’t many classes for that available at my middle school. Then, I saw the Academy and it was an entrance to graphic design, visual arts, and digital works. I saw it as a chance, I took it.” explained Hannah Little, sophomore.

In addition to building computer-based skills, the Game Art and Design Academy also helps develop strong social skills.“I came into the school knowing one person. The Academy definitely helped me come out of my shell. The first two weeks I didn’t talk much because I was super shy, but being around like-minded people helped a lot,” said sophomore Ashley Conklin. Avery Webb explained how the Academy will help him in the future. “If I was going to go into a job for animation or graphic designing for a video game company, this would all really help me. Designing logos, creating characters, making posters.”

All of these sophomores returned to the Game Art and Design Academy because they enjoyed it so much as a freshman. “You have fun with what you can do and what you can learn that you never knew about,” said Doug O’Neal.

Advisors and teachers, Mr. Bullock and Mr. Delgado have only the highest of hopes for their students’ future and this academy’s future. “The academy has grown massively since the first year we started. We’re always trying to expand. Right now we’re trying to get a motion-capture studio built, which is audio and editing to help the students become better acquainted with what it takes to be in the game industry. This is the first year we offer internships to seniors for topics such as computer programing and computer repair. We try to give them more experience in the real world, outside of class.” said Mr. Delgado. Mr. Bullock gave his sincerest wishes to the success for his students, stating that “whatever career they choose to embark upon, I hope that they will take the lessons that they’ve learned from the Academy and use them in whatever situations they put themselves in outside of school.”