Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Posted by Bobby Beck at 12:15 AM
3rd Graduation Ceremony for Animation Mentor
This past Saturday we had our 3rd graduation for Animation Mentor. If I tried to put into words the feelings I have during these ceremonies I'd have to say it's like an emotional milkshake. :)

A very well respected professional animator sent me this fantastic email which sums it up and gives me goose bumps:

Thank you very much for inviting me to an event that surpassed my expectations. Fine words of encouragement and sentiment are definitely a must, but the comedy is what made it spectacular to me.
You guys nailed it. I also love that you addressed the families of the students and let them know that you understood the sacrifices they made so their animator could meet their dream.

After a year and a half of hard work and learning more than one person should be able to compute in such a small amount of time, the students have become animators, damn good animators, and the graduation ceremony that I saw sends them off into the industry in a very respectful way. The amount of energy that went into the Graduation indicates to these students that you did care and that you still do care about making them feel like they are more than just a student number. The three of you have shown these students what true animators should be by your example and the by the code of conduct taught by the school. Every student I meet is void of an ego. They all speak confidently about the knowledge they've obtained, but they have been removed from a heightened sense of self importance.

You didn't just provide them with a school for animation but you provided them with a way to understand and accept humility. You allowed these individuals a place where they could find out what they can achieve, no matter how difficult the struggle may be. You've given them a place where they learn to ask for advice, and a place where they can pass their knowledge onto others who need an extra helping hand. You've given them a place to create their own community where they all feel accepted. Because of you guys and your dedication to the industry, you have offered these animators a chance they might not have ever had.

........I just hope none of them take my job; otherwise I'll be pounding on your front door!!!

I'm so proud of this school and everyone involved in it from the staff, to the mentors, to the students it's all one big huge animation melting pot! I love it!

Pete Docter, the director of Monster's Inc. gave the commencement speech with great enthusiasm. Pete is such an amazing guy. It was such an honor to have him there. He's one of the most amazingly talented and humble guys you'd ever meet. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us with his next film. :)

This time around we got mentors involved in giving some of the awards. This added such an awesome level of involvement.
Before the event Shawn, Carlos and I took the mentors out for lunch. It was cool as everyone was dressed up really nicely and it was great being able to sit down with so many great people and talk shop and laugh. These guys and gals care so much about this school and it's great to see the effort they put in to making this a special event!

In this Photo Morgan Kelly and Victor Navone hand shake hands with up and coming super stars!

Jason Schleifer and Michelle Meeker give their words of wisdom to the grads!

Cassidy Curtis hams it up to the audience in his speech about the importance of ninjas in the art of animation. :)

After graduation is my favorite part. That's where I get to meet the families of the people who have traveled so far and are so proud of their loved ones. It's great to see people's enthusiasm for this huge accomplishment. It's something I hope they remember forever. The energy is outstanding and something I can not quite put into words. It feels so real and so fantastic. I feel extremely honored to be a part of this school knowing full well that it would be nothing without the support and dedication of so many amazing people. I am truly blessed.

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