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MAD Academy needs $1 million for new building

Students at a special program at Santa Barbara High School have one huge assignment to complete by next month: help raise $1 million for a new Multimedia Arts and Design Academy.

The academy also known as MAD is thought of a school within a school. It might be on a high school campus but the students are learning with high-tech equipment from college professors.

The converted shower room has been the home of the Multimedia Arts and Design Academy for 15 years.

“Personally, I call this place the cave,” said Channing Peake, Santa Barbara High School senior.

Currently the students work in windowless classrooms which is why they’re looking for a new home. The academy has already started construction on a new building but it’s $1 million short of the goal.

The teens know what’s at stake.

“Now I know what I want to do and that’s film editing,” said Francesca Gonzales with a smile. “It really opened my eyes to what other opportunities there are for me.”

Those opportunities are about to expand. In a month the academy and its 250 students will move into some new digs.

“We have this building from where La Cuesta was, to the old auto mechanics,” explained Dan Williams, academy director.

Williams is making sure his students are well prepared when they graduate.

“What do we need to do to make sure our students are learning the skills that they would need to go get a real job? We don’t want them to be surprised when they go to KEYT to apply for a job, that this is what it’s supposed to look like. This should be the way it looks like in the training process which would be here,” said Williams as he stood in one of the multiple studios under construction in the new building.

All the training comes from college professors who travel from Brooks and Santa Barbara City College to the high school campus.

“I’ve done photography, I’ve done film editing, I’ve done Photoshop, I’ve used Adobe Illustrator and I’ve also done web design,” said Peake.

Now the high school academy senior would like to see future SBHS Dons make the most of a new facility.

“We also have to provide tables, chairs, computers, equipment, lighting, you name it, to make the space as useful as possible for the students,” said Williams.

The clock is ticking. Classes are scheduled to move to the new location at the beginning of March.

There is a fundraiser on March 2, 2013 to help with the capital campaign.

MAD Academy
Grand Opening Gala Celebration
6 p.m.
QAD 100 Innovation Place
Santa Barbara, CA 93108

Click here for tickets.

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