LEAH LAFARCIOLA IS ANIMATING HER WAY TO GREATNESS
Graduating with an associate of arts degree and planning to attend The Ohio State University in fall 2014 will help Leah LaFarciola reach her lofty goals of becoming an animator for DreamWorks Animation and a part-time environmental researcher.
A diligent student and hardworking employee, LaFarciola knew her responsibilities from early on in her life. She knew where she could take the first step towards achieving her dreams - LCCC. "It was right next to my house and it was a place of opportunities, I had heard," she said. "I am so happy I chose LCCC, it has pushed me to achieve greatness."
LaFarciola took advantage of the learning and working opportunities on campus and credits the internships and on-campus jobs to have taught her a lot. She admits, "Balancing two important things like education and work was especially tough."
She works part time as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and supervisor at the Westlake Recreation Center. She is also a part-time worker for the LCCC Marketing department as a tour guide and also works part timerat Bath and Body Works.
"I'm a girl who likes to buy everything she sees so as you can image I am the poster-child of a broke college kid,” she said. “I also like to overachieve. That's when I do my best work, when I'm under pressure and stressed. I just wanted to make enough money to put into my account for my future reference, especially when I move out and live on my own."
As a kid, she enjoyed watching cartoons and animated films. “I was so intrigued by the colors and movements of the characters. I was never the kid to say, 'Wow I loved that movie because the story was so cute!’ I was the one to say, 'Wow I loved that movie for the animation,’” LaFarciola said.
Drawing since she was 3 years old, she notes that, “Sadly my teachers in grade school, middle, and high school didn't appreciate me doodling during class. My dream would be to see my name during the credits under 'Animation' for a major animated film at a major animation company, like Pixar, Blue Sky Studios, or DreamWorks."
Her interest in environmental research was sparked by the inspirational work of her uncle. She was pulled by the fascination of his stories of traveling the world and investigating the ecosystem. What really got her hooked was an ecology class she took this spring with professor Ruby Beil, Ph. D.
"I loved learning about making a sustainable future for our planet and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that movement," LaFarciola added.
"I was never the best student academically when I was in high school, but I found my place in college, because of the open and encouraging environment," LaFarciola said.
As a shy kid in Avon High School, she was bullied a lot because of her reserved nature and she was "scared to show everyone what I really was - an outgoing and trustworthy person to be friends with," but she met some wonderful friends during high school who helped her come out of her shell, and she still keeps in touch with them.
"Life is too short to be shy, things are much better when you put yourself out there and just have fun with it. So for that I personally want to thank LCCC for showing me that even that shy girl can become the girl everyone wants to befriend because of the way she presents herself and how confident she presents herself as well – it just takes a bit of gut and persistence,” LaFarciola said.
What kept pushing her towards graduation is the need to say to herself, "Look what I did! I graduated and now I can focus on the next step of my life - my career." She admits that making her parents proud of her was another factor that pushed her to work hard. She made it to the Dean's List and will begin work at The Ohio State University for fall 2014.