Anthony Jackson – Austin Community College, Highland Campus

Anthony Jackson – Graphic Designer/Character Designer, E4 Youth

Anthony selected Austin Community College’s Highland campus, recognizing it as the foundational ground where his creative journey began. It was here that he crafted his inaugural logo and brought his first animated characters to life, milestones that paved his path into the realms of digital media, art, and production design. This campus wasn’t just a choice for Anthony; it was a pivotal nexus where his passion met opportunity, propelling him into a world where his artistic vision could flourish.

Fiesta Gardens – Presented By Perez Elementary School

Perez Elementary School in Austin is embracing technology and local culture with a VR story focused on the city’s vibrant Fiesta Gardens. This immersive virtual experience allows students to explore the iconic lakeside venue, known for its lively community events and beautiful scenery. This innovative approach to education connects history, community, and technology, engaging students in a unique and memorable way.

Zavala Elementary – Presented By Widén Elementary School

Widén Elementary School

Students at Widén Elementary explore the legacy of Zavala Elementary and the vibrant East Austin neighborhood it serves. As they navigate through interactive historical scenes, students gain a deep understanding of their school’s heritage, fostering a sense of pride and connection to their educational roots and the broader community.

Pan American Park – Presented By Widén Elementary School

Widén Elementary School

Widén Elementary School takes a virtual leap into the rich history of Austin’s Pan American Park through an engaging VR experience. Students are transported into the lush landscapes and vibrant community gatherings of this beloved local landmark. This immersive journey allows them to experience the park’s cultural significance and historical evolution, deepening their appreciation for one of Austin’s cherished green spaces and fostering a connection with the city’s diverse heritage.

Santa Rita Courts – Presented By Widén Elementary School

Widén Elementary School

Widén Elementary School is delving into the history of Austin’s Santa Rita Courts through a compelling VR narrative. This immersive experience invites students to step virtually into the heart of the city’s first public housing project. As they explore the historic site, they gain a profound understanding of its cultural and historical importance, enriching their knowledge of Austin’s past and fostering a deeper connection with their community’s heritage.

Santa Rita Courts – Presented By Govalle Elementary School

Govalle Elementary School

Govalle Elementary is introduces a history of Austin’s Santa Rita Courts. This immersive VR story allows students to virtually walk through the historic grounds, understanding the cultural and historical significance of the city’s first public housing project.

Darnell (D.K.) Wilson – Capital Plaza

Digital Docent – E4 Youth

Darnell chose Capital Plaza, a bustling strip mall in the Windsor Park neighborhood of Austin, Texas, as his landmark of resilience. Back in 2019, this place became an unlikely refuge where he spent nights in his car, a decision dictated by economics more than comfort. Juggling a variety of odd jobs, he viewed every dollar spent on a hotel as a setback from his hard-earned income. Amid the hum of nighttime activity at the plaza, Darnell made a solemn vow to himself — this situation would be a temporary chapter, not his life story.

Those months, under the dim glow of streetlights, were not just about survival; they were a crucible forging Darnell’s resolve and tenacity. The resolve that has since propelled him, fueling ambitions and dreams far exceeding the confines of his car’s four doors. Capital Plaza stands not just as a reminder of his toughest days but as a testament to the promise he made and kept — a promise of relentless pursuit towards a future he envisioned.

Matthew Roman – El Paso High School

Digital Docent – E4 Youth

Matthew selected the gym at El Paso High School as his pivotal arena. As a dedicated multisport athlete, he devoted countless hours there, weight training not just to meet benchmarks, but to surpass them – striving to become faster, stronger, and the best competitor possible. The gym, with its echoing cheers and relentless pulse, wasn’t just a building; it was the crucible where Matthew’s limits were tested and his victories forged. Beyond physical strength, sports nurtured enduring friendships and a deep sense of camaraderie among teammates.

Upon graduation, however, the structured world of school sports faded, leaving a void where clear objectives once stood. Initially, Matthew grappled with this transition, feeling a sense of aimlessness as the familiar rhythm of team practices and competitions fell away. Nevertheless, he found a new sanctuary in his apartment gym. This wasn’t just a place to maintain his fitness; it was where he redefined his purpose on his own terms, channeling the discipline and resilience honed during his high school years into forging a new path forward.

Jojo (JJ) Mayang – Mills Pond

Program Coordinator, E4 Youth

JJ chose Mills Pond, a serene park nestled in the Wells Branch district of Austin, Texas, as his sanctuary. Here, amidst whispers of leaves and gentle caresses of the breeze, he seeks solace, disconnecting from the bustling world to immerse in nature’s tranquility and reconnect with his inner self. Moreover, the park stands as a profound reminder: no journey is solitary. True strength blossoms from embracing community, vulnerability, and creativity.

Blaigne Ayuma – Kenny Dorham’s Backyard

Sound Designer and Composer – Roblox

Blaigne Ayuma deeply connected with Kenny Dorham’s Backyard in East Austin, recalls their formative experiences at this iconic venue, which is their chosen place of significance. Initially a site for jazz shows, it evolved into a community hub where they performed, encountered inspiring individuals, and forged meaningful connections, including a musical collaboration born from a Filipino potluck event. To them, Kenny Dorham’s Backyard is more than a venue; it’s a testament to Austin’s genuine spirit, a place of communal importance, and an emblem of the city’s cultural and musical heritage.

Blaigne recently addressed the audience at the Creative Leadership Academy as part of our Creative Pathways Program. This event featured speakers from STEAM fields who discussed their distinct paths, intertwining elements of science and art, aiming to motivate and spark creativity among the upcoming generation of innovators. Click here to view the presentation.