Before the state Skills USA competition in March, SRTC students Alexander Barth and Melody Schaeffer expected they were presenting an animation short they had prepared months in the making for the 3D Visualization and Animation competition in Bangor.
Barth, from Kennebunk High School, and Schaeffer, from Massabesic High School, who are in the Digital Design program at SRTC, had put the time and effort to ensure everything was ready for their animation.
"Two months before the competition, Alex was teaching me things, and I made a little animated short," Schaeffer said. "We thought we were making our short and presenting it at states."
Unfortunately, when they arrived at the state competition, they found out they wouldn't be presenting the short and instead had to make a prompt entirely from scratch. The prompt was a cartoon plane leaving a hanger.
They had to bring their own computers, model the assets, and animate them, all while using an animation software called Blender that neither was familiar with.
Despite odds seemingly set against them, Barth and Schaeffer were able to adjust on the fly, create the prompt, and win the gold medal in the 3D Visualization and Animation team contest to qualify for the national competition in Atlanta in June.
"And so we made that, and it came out pretty well," Schaeffer said. "And that was my whole introduction to Blender."
"You did amazing," Barth said to Schaeffer.
Barth and Schaeffer had to rely on skills they learned in the Digital Design program taught by Anita Lavigne. They also leaned on Precision Manufacturing teacher Joseph Bolduc for some guidance.
They both felt they could still compete well at the state competition based on what they had learned in the program.
"We were both confident in our abilities, but we also weren't really sure what the other teams were making," Barth said.
Now, with nationals on the horizon, Barth and Schaeffer hope they won't be caught off guard this time. They expect to be ready and prepared to compete against the nation's best. They are also looking forward to traveling out of state.
"I'm excited to go. I've never been to Atlanta," Schaeffer said. "My mom is a chaperone, so that's going to be fun."
The Sanford Schools Legacy Foundation is now accepting donations on behalf of the students to help offset their travel expenses.
You can make a tax-deductable donation via our website here, look for the "SkillsUSA" dropdown from the menu.