Academy of Entertainment & Technology

Francisco Figueroa “My family is very supportive of me. They just want me to do my best at whatever I choose, and to make sure my education comes first.”

Francisco Figueroa isn’t at SMC to goof off, and he’s not afraid to tell others what he thinks they should do when they get here. “People have to take advantage of everything that’s offered at SMC, like financial aid, socializing, and joining clubs. You can’t take things for granted, because it’s your education,” says Francisco. “It’s all great if you want to become an athlete or a dancer or a singer. But you’d better make sure you have an educational background first, just in case things don’t work out.”

Francisco’s creative dream is to one day have his own animation studio. And it’s a dream that’s being nourished at SMC’s Academy of Entertainment & Technology. “My teachers have all worked in the Industry and they’ve told me about their jobs and what to expect. I’ve gotten a lot of really great information from all of them,” says Francisco. “But maybe my best teacher was Nathan Ota, who taught me Figure Drawing as one of the prerequisites for getting into the Academy. I learned a lot from him about art in general and how to draw the human form. It was all about drawing by hand,” adds Francisco. “Now I just have to learn how to translate all that I learned from him into the digital world.”

Robotics. Electronics. The continually evolving technology of animation. Francisco says that wherever he goes in life, he will never stop learning. “I have so many things that I want to accomplish, and sometimes I get a little anxious when I want to do some advanced things that, maybe, I’m not ready for. But my teachers at the Academy always tell me, ‘Just relax! Don’t stress. Everything you do here is just practice, practice.’ And I keep that in mind because—when you’re passionate about doing something—you can do some great things in your life.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.