What’s Next For VHS ‘21: Animation


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Sophia Guide’s art classes inspired her to think about a future in animation.

The difference between elementary school and high school is the expectation of finding a career path. Sofia Guide, a Verona High School senior, has been interested in art since she was in elementary school. The beginning of junior year she decided that she wanted to pursue a career in animation.

“I know animation is a growing business that I’d be able to support myself with, unlike a lot of commission-based work,” Guide says.

Guide has had her heart set on Lesley University in Massachusetts since junior year. A representative came to VHS in 2020 and Jennifer Gadaleta, VHS Counseling Office director, called Guide and a few other art students to the office to meet with the representative because Lesley, a private university based in Cambridge, Mass., is primarily an art school.

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Lesley offers an undergraduate major in animation and motion media. Motion media is “art that moves and doesn’t just tell a story through singular images,” Guide explains. “It’s not just drawn art, but also visual effects and other types of art that tell a story through motion.” Guide usually draws humans, but is interested in drawing backgrounds too.

Guide used the art classes offered at VHS to discover that she wanted to work on cartoons. She took introduction to character animation, drawing and painting, and ceramics and mosaics. Since the application process for most art and design majors includes a portfolio, Guide created a collection of her best work that she knew colleges would appreciate, such as still lifes.

Guide took classes in character animation, drawing and painting, and ceramics and mosaics.

Guide says she was very interested in Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), but Lesley was a somewhat bigger school and had more diversity. (Other VHS seniors have studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and SCAD graduate Madelyn Boyle, VHS ‘14, was the headliner of Verona’s first Chalk Fest in 2019.) Guide applied to Lesley and was accepted.

VHS’s art classes weren’t the only thing that helped Guide to take her next step. She says that her English classes made her realize that one day she wants to make her own story and reading other people’s stories helped her decide to find a career path that can help her do just that.

“Best-case scenario, I’m hoping I could have my own TV show,” she says optimistically. “If that doesn’t happen, I would still love to work on other TV shows. Either with storyboarding or with animation.”

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“What’s Next” is a series of profiles about what members of each Verona High School class intend to do after graduation. MyVeronaNJ has been publishing the series since 2010 and you can read all of them here.

The artist herself

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