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Classes Provide Real World Experience

Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program prepares students for careers.

At first glance, it appears like any other high-school classroom. But this isn't English, history or math.

The animation class at is just one of 17 classes offered on campus through the Regional Occupational Program. Students also can attend 13 Career and Technical Education classes off campus. Classes are in Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton.

They target students in industry careers, including arts, media, engineering, finance, marketing, medical technology and child development.

"They are able to take what they've learned and apply it to real situations, which prepares them with 21st century skills that are necessary to be successful in an unpredictable world," said Diane Centoni, superintendent of the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program.

Angela Tran, a 17-year-old senior in the animations class, has been interested in the field since a young age. She said she's thrilled to take the class.

"I wouldn't know where I'd be without this class. It's opened up a lot of outside opportunities."

They include the chance to do paid work for clients. 

"You should see my resume and I don't even have a degree yet," said Tran, who hopes to go to art college and major in animation.

Senior Laura Buserwini, 17, said the class has changed her life. She will attend the Academy of Arts in San Francisco after graduating.

Buserwini isn't alone. More than 350 students are enrolled in ROP classes this year. Student after student in the animation class echoed the sentiment that it has given them an understanding of the field. 

And that's exactly what Centoni said ROP classes aim to do.

"ROP provides opportunities for students to discover their passions so that they can make better career choices early on," she said.

ROP teachers have experience in the subjects they teach.

Animations instructor Brett Shapiro and multimedia teacher Mitch Eason have worked in their respective fields. That knowledge pays off when students want to know what it's like in the professional realm.

"I would say about 80 to 90 percent of the students want to do this in life," said Shapiro.

Eason's multimedia class puts together a weekly . (See attached video for a sample of the students' work.) They shoot, edit and put together all aspects of the video.

Down the hall, Lisa Pong teaches marketing. 

"My students will tell me that they want to learn about business," she said.

Pong is also the adviser for , the Distributive Educational Clubs of America, an organization that focuses on business and marketing. 

Senior Ascanio Ramirez, 18, is in the marketing class and also is a member of DECA. He said the class has taught him skills he will use long after graduation. 

"You get realistic applications because you get to learn outside of a textbook," said Ramirez.

"We are proud of how we engage these kids," Centoni said. "They learn so much, but have fun doing it." 

Spend just a few minutes in any of the ROP classes and you'll hear raves.

Dublin High junior Johnny Xu, 16, is enrolled in the animation class and has worked on video game design. 

Here's what it means to him: "It's a dream-come-true class."

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