Ready, Set, Animate!
Posted On:
Monday, December 18, 2017
Jordan Funke, Chris Georgenes, Stacy Monette
Jordan Funke, Chris Georgenes, Stacy Monette

Approximately forty students in grades 6-8 at Baird Middle School recently gathered in the library to listen to Chris Georgenes share his journey about his career path of becoming an animator/visual storyteller. This was the first guest speaker in a new monthly series focused on exposing students to various careers by inviting professionals to speak to students about their career paths.

BMS Principal, Stacy Monette, explained, “In the spring of last year we did a student engagement survey and the one thing that came out glaring is that we don’t do enough throughout the year asking kids about what they want to do in their future careers. Guidance presents a one day career awareness class to 8th graders and the PTO sponsors a career fair at the end of the year but we fall short of regularly addressing future career opportunities within the curriculum.”

“Chris and I met through mutual friends at the Cape and he asked if we had an animation curriculum at Baird- that question sparked the idea of having guest lecturers once a month to speak to our students about careers,” continued Monette.  “Chris is our pilot into better exposing our students to careers that might not be your typical choice.”

“I think part of my job as a librarian is to provide learning opportunities that students can't get in the classroom,” added BMS Librarian, Jordan Funke.  “I try to expose students to options beyond what they already know and to widen their worldview. For this series of career talks we plan to bring in people whose job or career path is a little mysterious. For example, I have no idea what a music producer does but it sounds like a cool job for a musician that chooses not to go into performance. What sort of education and experience do they need? Where do they start working when they are just beginning? What were the challenges along the way.”

Georgenes currently works for Patient Discovery as the Head of Interactive Design.  “I do animation. I make things move. I am a designer, illustrator, author, animator - or as my daughter would say - I color things really nice!”

Today’s presentation focused on sharing the chronology of Georgenes’s career, starting with the fine arts in high school, his interest in writing stories, attending college (FBA Hartford Arts School), early experiments with squiggle animation, and becoming a world renowned expert in Adobe Flash. Georgenes also shared some of his amazing animations and gave students the opportunity to try using a digital drawing tablet connected to the computer.  

Students learned it took Georgenes several years to find a job in his field, but he never lost his confidence and passion for animation. Over the years he secured jobs at Adobe and Microsoft, worked for a small software company producing animated television shows for networks such as ABC and the Cartoon Network.and has authored seven books specializing on how to effectively use Adobe Flash.

As they exited the library, students shared one overwhelming theme - the presentation was engaging, the animations were amazing and they would like to start an animation club.

Aiden Hervieux, a 7th grader, commented, “This was just awesome!”

7th grader Keira Lancaster stated, “This was really fun because it taught us what you can do and how easy it is to animate things.”  

“Chris Georgenes was an especially great example of the path an artist can take because he has worked on so many projects, many of which our students recognized,” said Funke following the presentation. “His sense of humor really helped both the work he created and the group dynamics of creating with a team. One message he really wanted to convey to students was - being bored is really good because then you have time to figure out how to do things. Those were the times he really boosted his abilities.”

When asked why it is important to share his story with middle school students Georgenes explained, “It is fun to show kids how good they have it now because they probably don’t realize it - what they are capable of doing with the tools they have - and how you can really set your mind to doing whatever it is you want to do.  

“I just said yes to everything,” continued Georgenes.  “I embraced technology based animation and design and it allowed me to achieve career goals I never thought I could do. Showing them that you really can make a living doing what you love will hopefully inspire similar outcomes for many of these students.”

Photo credits- Stacy Monette


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