Choosing the right path in life is often seen as a lofty goal. But at only 15 years old, Rocco Riina has already chosen one. As part of Laurel Springs Find Your Drive program, Rocco is on a pathway toward a career in Media Arts and Technology. So, how did he end up here? For that answer, we have to travel down memory lane.
The Young Artist
Growing up in Connecticut, Rocco had many titles: twin, honor student, basketball player, artist. “I have always been artistically inclined. From a young age, I always loved using a pencil and drawing on a plain, white piece of paper. Throughout elementary school to high school, I have had several pieces of my artwork receive rewards and earned a spot in art showcases, including the Stamford Government Center.”
Through daily practice, Rocco continues to improve his skills even when pencil and paper transformed into something more electronic. “I downloaded Photoshop and developed such a desire for it. I created an Instagram page dedicated to my work and became an influencer for graphic design.” Keeping up with his daily artistic routine, Rocco has gained thousands of social media followers and requests for various types of commissioned work.
Mixing Education with Pleasure
Finding a balance between school work and passion projects is a constant for many busy students and families. “I used to be incredibly stressed out in public school, as I had an abundance of homework every night and barely got to focus on the things I loved. Laurel Springs supplies…a balanced work ethic and allows me to pursue my art and graphic design career.”
There are some elements of his old life that took some adjustments. “I believe public school was great for being social since I saw my friends every day, but I always keep in contact with them and see them every week.” When there’s a way to counterbalance the cons with the pros, the decision is even easier, and Rocco hasn’t looked back since. “Overall, I find Laurel Springs to be an incredibly significant part towards shaping my life and future career.”
Carving Out a Career Path
In addition to allowing time to pursue creative goals, Laurel Springs goes the extra mile in putting students on the right path toward success. Rocco’s current pathway not only allows him to work at his own pace while he trains at his craft, but it also offers electives geared towards reaching future career milestones. “For the first semester, I took the Drawing People elective, and I established many beautiful pieces and practices of artwork. The process has helped enhance my ability to develop artwork in different types of media and allow me to earn income while I am a sophomore in high school.”
Even before finishing high school, Rocco has big plans. “I plan on starting my own graphic design business and establishing a name for myself.” Between his Instagram feed and desires of maintaining exceptional grades, this is all highly possible.