Damonte Ranch National Champs In 3-D Animation

Jul 7, 2016

From left: Jordan Jacobson, Michael Caron and MyKayl Turner are now national champions in 3-D animation.
Credit Noah Glick

Three 2016 graduates from Damonte Ranch are now national champions in 3-D animation. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has more.

McKayl Turner was a pretty normal high school grad gearing up for college. But last week that all changed.

“So then we’re standing on stage with ten other people and you don’t know what place you got," she says. "So they start calling people one by one off. And then it got to second place, and then I remember we all just started freaking out, because we knew we were national champions.”

Turner, along with two classmates, won the annual 3-D animation competition hosted by the Future Business Leaders of America

One of her teammates, Michael Caron, built the video's mascot, a robot named Cody. Their use of a robot helped set their project apart, but team member Jordan Jacobson says they also added some local flair.

“We based the people off of the teachers from Damonte Ranch to give it a little more personalization,” she says.

Damonte Ranch teachers shown on the left, next to their likenesses that were used in the video
Credit McKayl Turner, Jordan Jacobson, Michael Caron

The teens say they stopped counting after putting in 400 hours. Amee Lombardi, their coach and computer science teacher at Damonte Ranch, says the competition prepares students for the realities of working life.

“The children come out and they’re academically strong, but they don’t know how the real world works,” she says.

All three students are now headed to college to study computer science.

Watch Michael Caron explain how he builds and animates the robot, Cody:

Jordan Jacobson explains how she and teammate, McKayl Turner put together their animated world.

Watch clips of the winning video below: