Lawrence class puts students in video game world

Students in Lawrence are getting experience producing video games.
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High school students in Lawrence Township are rising to the next level when it comes to career opportunities. Their coursework is leading them to a world of video games and 3-D entertainment.

For the opening minutes of the three-hour class, Eddie Mathews has his students' undivided attention on how to design a video game. Then they're turned loose to work on the project that someday may influence what they do for a living.

"I like to create things, so this is the perfect way to do it," said Symphanie Bolds.

The program is called "interactive media," where students from Lawrence North and Lawrence Central high schools focus on producing audio, video, 3-D animation and computer graphics.

"If kids can go shoot video, edit it, put it on the web, create a website to host that video, they can make mobile apps and video games, that's in incredibly high demand right now," Mathews said.

Around 120 students are part of this program each year. In the eleven years it has evolved, nine out of ten students go on to college.

"Well, it helps you learn kind of the mechanics and everything of how you have to do one thing in order for another thing to work, kind of like a programming thing," said Donovan Sanders.

"It's helped me take a second look at what I really want to do when I grow up. This class is helping me figure out what I'm strongest in," said Merveil Alisa.

While most of the class focuses on the creative design work, computer science students step in to write the code to make it all work.

"This software allows us, allows the students to see, in a 3-D environment, what their code behind the scenes can do," said computer science instructor Kevin Schoville.

Instructors say this is more than just having fun, it's about studying new media and the business behind it.

"Above all, the power to communicate, just to be articulate and to have a message and understand that people need to communicate their message. Businesses, schools, whatever the case may be," Mathews said.