While many of her peers are forging plans for that one last summer of fun before college, there will be no rest for aspiring artist Angelica Rodriguez.
Not even a week after graduating from J.W. Mitchell High, Rodriguez, 18, has already made a couple of trips to Full Sail University in Orlando to check out her new digs off campus and apply for whatever scholarships are available.
Her first day of school will be June 25.
Hard work has paid off for Rodriguez, who in recent weeks has earned two scholarships, racking up $6,000 from Full Sail for the portfolio of work she put together in the classroom of Mitchell art teacher Donna Fulton, and another $10,000 for an essay she penned outlining her plans for where she sees herself 10 years from now.
That would be working as an artist in the entertainment industry.
"I see myself as a computer animator," Rodriguez said. Then there's the other-world novel she's been working on these past few years, complete with her own graphic renderings of the other-world characters she's created. "I want to see my story published into a novel, a movie and then a video game."
With 25 chapters and 110 pages under her belt, she's off to a good start. "But I still have a lot more that I have to put into it," she said.
That's been the way for Rodriguez, who says she has been drawing since she was 10 months old and her parents let her loose on the floor with a pencil and some old reams of paper.
"Art has always been with me and always will be me," she said.
Rodriguez, who also has a knack for making home movies, plans to parlay her talents into a promising future.
"Some day I'd like to work as some kind of producer in the industry," she said.
But first things first.
"I love to draw. I love to write. I love to create characters and I really want to find a way to make them come to life," she said. "People are making good money doing this. And every year there's new technology coming. It's a growing industry. Computer animation and multi media — that's the way of the future."