Evely Torres knew she was interested in animation in middle school but didn’t initially even consider applying to a high school magnet program. That changed after the now-senior at Communications Arts High School attended an open house, met some of the teachers, and realized it was somewhere that she could belong and explore something she was already passionate about.
The decision has paid off. Torres has already been accepted to the University of the Incarnate Word where she will major in 3D animation and game design. She’ll graduate high school with almost a year and a half of college credit thanks to her advanced placement, dual credit, and UT OnRamps courses.
“They offered so many advanced courses, it would be bad not to take them,” Torres said. “I never felt pressured. It was always my choice.”
Torres also had opportunities to earn industry certifications, elevate her work by participating in contests and showcases outside of the district, and meet with college and industry professionals.
“I came in doing animation by hand,” Torres said. “I didn’t know the technology. Comm Arts taught me the workplace feel with collaboration on animation projects. We’re all artists here so we understand the struggle. The feedback is so much better in this environment because you’re with people who understand what to do to get better. It gives you confidence in your work which is so important for this industry.”
Like Torres, Aidan Villarreal considers himself an artist. The senior in the Audio/Visual Production strand is also involved in the Taft High School theatre program.
“The best part about Comm Arts is creating my own work,” Villarreal said. “I do that as an actor, but audio/visual production is more. It’s writing, directing, and putting my artistic vision out there. It’s what I’ve enjoyed the most.”
Villarreal was part of the Taft state champion One Act Play ensemble last spring, and is currently applying to college musical theatre programs around the country. No matter where he ends up, Villarreal says he’s ready thanks to Comm Arts.
“I can tackle anything,” Villarreal said. “This school has prepared me. I’m so used to the workload, that going to college won’t feel like such a big shift.”
He’s also college ready with enough credits earned that will classify him as a sophomore and two Adobe certifications. His advice to future students is simple.
“Be ready to work,” Villarreal said. “You’re going to have amazing teachers and make amazing friends. That comes with putting in the work in these fun courses.”
Flora Farr came to Comm Arts eager to explore her interest in writing and telling stories. The junior in the school’s Broadcast Journalism strand appreciates all the opportunities to be creative, including developing the school’s student news website and mentoring younger students at Comm Arts as the broadcast program grows.
The aspiring journalist credits her teachers with introducing her to professional journalism experiences as a high school student like the Express-News Teen Team and the school’s partnership with PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs.
“Being at Communications Arts, it’s high school with a bonus feature. That’s what makes it so enjoyable. The teachers here make us feel capable of doing anything. It never feels like you can’t. I never had a doubt that I would be successful here.”
Communications Arts HS offers students three strands of study – Audio/Video Production, Animation, and Broadcast Journalism.
The school will next host an open house for prospective students on Jan. 11 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Visit their YouTube channel to watch the 2021 recruiting video, a student-created overview of all the school has to offer.