Midpeninsula Post

Freestyle Academy presents annual end of year exhibition

Freestyle Academy in May 2023. (Eason Dong)

Mountain View-Los Altos School District’s Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology held its annual end of year exhibition last Thursday, less than two weeks after the academy’s students and staff moved into their newly constructed campus. The exhibition featured art, writing, website and film galleries, and gave all students the chance to present their works to family and friends.

The academy, which offers three tracks — design, animation and film — is a two-year program with 160 MVLA juniors and seniors. Because the academy is split into morning and afternoon schedules, most students aren’t able to see their peers’ works and projects until the exhibition.

When you get to see what everyone else has created, it just makes you excited,” junior and design student Eva D’Antonio said. “Everyone has something to look at.”

Throughout the year, a lot of work was done digitally. This further inhibited everyone from seeing what their classmates were up to, senior and design student Kali Micetich said. The exhibition, which featured a walk-through showing of students’ printed-out animations and designs, changed that.

“I don’t always get to see everybody’s work, but now it’s all displayed,” Micetich said. “It’s also really nice to see it printed because a lot of this work is digital.”

Each student presented multiple projects at the exhibition, ranging from stop motion puppets to a homemade prom dress to crochet animals, according to which track they were part of. Each project can take anywhere from two to seven weeks to complete, according to animation teacher Tommy Cho. In all, though, the academy wants to present more than just one of each student’s many works, which is why there’s one large exhibition at the end of the year, Cho said. 

“[The exhibition] is the first time I’ve seen [my granddaughter’s work],” said Ivanna Turaids, grandmother of Los Altos High School senior and design student Sarah Starkey. “I don’t want to call them projects, because they’re more than just projects. Having students involved in this, it’s amazing.”

The academy moved into their newly constructed campus on May 16, giving them only nine days to settle in and prepare for the exhibition. The new buildings, which sit right beside Mountain View High School’s Back Parking Lot, feature state of the art equipment and technology for all three tracks. 

“[The new buildings] are everything,” design teacher Leslie Parkinson said. “It’s mind boggling. … It’s a beautiful facility, especially as the community starts to get more involved and really see all the cool stuff that we can do and offer.”

More than anything, the exhibition is meant to be a festival and celebration for the students, especially the outgoing seniors, Cho said. It gives students the chance to commend themselves and look back on their progress this school year.

“I’m very glad I’ve had the opportunity to be able to use all these strange devices and do things I’ve never done before,” D’Antonio said. “I really just found new things that I like to do.”

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