Artist, animator, teacher: Zakiyah Scaramuzzino is in her first year at Forman School, but she is already making waves with her exciting Introduction to Flash Animation class. After months of hard work (and play!), the animation instructor presented a student highlight reel at a January assembly, with an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience. Students and faculty alike were dazzled by the intriguing, fun moving pictures that had been created.
With a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and Animation from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Scaramuzzino was previously a Teaching Assistant in college and subsequently went on to teach at Choate Rosemary Hall’s Summer Program. In August 2015, she brought her extensive experience in traditional and digital art, 3D modeling, web design, ceramics, and painting to Forman.
“I love teaching, particularly in the arts, because each student has a unique way of doing things,” she says. “My class combines arts and technology, and since technology is continually growing and changing, I’m always learning new things and thinking of new ways to merge the two together in innovative ways for the students.”
Several of Scaramuzzino’s students have said that Flash Animation is their favorite class of the day, and why wouldn’t it be? This hands-on course utilizes industry-level technology (such as Wacom drawing tablets and Adobe Flash Creative Cloud) and allows students to express their creativity freely. “Students are presented with an animation concept, and are shown examples in today’s media. Then, they create their own examples mirroring that animation concept,” Scaramuzzino explains. “I try to be very open about the content they animate, which helps them relate the project to themselves and their personal interests.”
This class embodies the kind of experiential learning that Forman actively strives to achieve. “I have sample animations prepared in Flash, so the students can see frame-by-frame how animations are completed, and they really get involved in the process,” she adds. “They can also draw in any style they please, as long as the animation fits in the parameters of the assignment, which they all enjoy.”
Scaramuzzino has a learning difference herself, so she personally understands and appreciates the hands-on teaching style that works for Forman students. “I love the School’s crest, how it says, ‘Truth is Freedom.’ I noticed that when I came to interview here and I thought it was pretty neat,” she says. “I struggled in school as I am dyslexic, so I feel honored to be teaching kids with learning differences.” Additionally, she hopes to bring student involvement to the next level by collaborating with the Instrumental Ensemble class in the near future. “It would be great if they could provide music for the students’ animations,” she says.
The curriculum always stays fresh in the Flash Animation classroom. With students displaying passion for their projects and completing unique, imaginative work, Scaramuzzino’s innovative vision is sure to bring this program to new heights.
View the latest highlight reel of student work below: