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'This is insane': Winnipeg students gifted state-of-the-art tablets for animation, drawing

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Students at a Winnipeg high school received a surprise gift Thursday that will help give them the upper hand in their future careers in creative industries.

Sixty students in Sisler High School's CREATE program were gifted Cintiq 16 tablets – which are considered the industry standard in the production of animations, drawings and motion graphics.

"This is insane. I'm just glad and so happy that we get to have this opportunity and get to be here where we can have access to all of this," said Annie Castiblanco, who was one of the lucky recipients.

The tablets were gifted by The Schroeder Foundation and Wacom Canada. Each tablet costs $1,150.

"They can either use them for school after they're done this year or they could actually work in the industry or remotely as a freelance artist," said Jamie Leduc, the department head of the CREATE program.

"It really makes a difference for a lot of these students that they have access to industry-standard equipment and software."

The Schroeder Foundation has provided more than $2 million in support to the program since 2019 while Wacom Canada has been providing resources since 2020.

Castiblanco said having these organizations contribute and show confidence in the students gives them even more drive to succeed in the future.

"It really just shows how much faith they have in us and how much certainty they have that we are going to go and do what we want to do," she said. "If they believe in us, we believe in us and that just pushes us forward.

"We're starting artists and the passion is there and all of our emotions are there and we really want to make it and this is just helping us make it."

Along with the tablets, The Schroder Foundation also announced support to help students travel to Los Angeles and Montreal this year so they can pitch their projects to Nickelodeon and REEL FX Animation. A total of 43 students will be travelling.

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