The growing popularity of animated movies has sparked interest in digital film and motion design classes.

Most movie-goers, however, have no idea about the time-consuming process required for a polished animation. For instance, one second of motion has 24 frames, so one minute has 1,440 frames.

The thought of that much tedium deflates some Hollywood dreamers, but our “creative computer nerds” enjoy building those frames into a seamless story.

While my students have varying dreams, unique strengths and weaknesses, they are bound by a shared love of art, video games and animation.

They help make leading a team and teaching in Booker High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Program exciting, challenging and rewarding.

Not only do I get to teach using cutting-edge equipment and software from the motion picture industry, I also am fortunate to both teach and learn from some of our community’s most original thinkers who, as young teens, possess the passion and drive to audition for the exacting four-year VPA program.

Once admitted into the VPA program, students must maintain a 2.5 or higher grade point average to stay in the program. I believe that students who put the time and dedication into meeting the VPA program’s high standards deserve my commitment to create lessons that challenge them to work up to their potential. That is why I pursued — and received — a grant last year to support an ambitious project, an interactive stop-motion lab titled: “Edge of Imagination Station: Literacy in Motion.”

The project was designed for students to learn to make videos that communicate story concepts, elevate script-writing skills, develop animation and playwriting techniques, and gain proficiency in the entire production process involved in telling a simple story.

Set in a real-world environment with tight deadlines, students worked in groups to produce stories from scratch. They made up characters and wrote stories about them, constructed necessary items to visually support the stories, and made sets and storyboards.

We have a saying: “We teach you skills that pay the bills.” Students graduate from our program at a high caliber with skills they can take to the real world in a way that nourishes their creativity and pays the rent.

The incredible potential of my students frequently astounds me. With pride and affection, I tell them, “You’d better thank me when you win an Oscar.” And that is a scene I can see in their future.

Lori Burton is department head of Visual and Performing Arts and a teacher of digital film and motion design at Booker High School.