A Pickerington High School Central senior has earned an exclusive animation scholarship and internship from Warner Brothers.
Life is a bit of a whirlwind these days for Alex Rickrich.
Not only is the 18-year-old set to graduate with the rest of her PHS Central classmates June 1, but she's also preparing to embark on a full-time, paid summer internship at the Warner Bros. Animation Department in Burbank, Calif., June 12.
The internship is the result of Rickrich receiving a $10,000 scholarship through the Warner Bros. Reach program, which annually awards one graduating high school senior in the U.S. the Warner Bros. Animation/Hanna-Barbera Honorship for their skills and passions related to the entertainment business.
Rickrich is enrolled in the Savannah College of Art and Design and is slated to intern at Warner Bros. Animation Department each summer throughout college.
Reached last week, Rickrich said she was shocked yet excited to receive the scholarship and internship.
She said she hopes they will open even more doors to the entertainment industry and a career in which she will be able to showcase and share her artistic and writing talents with the world.
"Especially for the first year, I'll be doing office work," Rickrich said.
"I'm completely OK with doing that because I'll be learning from others.
"I'll be living in Burbank, Calif., and I'll get to work full-time for nine weeks each summer. It's really amazing."
Rickrich is the daughter of Mark and Saundra Rickrich. She's had a decorated scholastic career, which includes being scheduled to graduate from Central with honors, being an accomplished pianist and marching in both the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Tournament of Roses parade with the Central Marching Tigers.
She is also a member of Central's National Honor Society, Sunny Side Up and is president of Central's Art Club.
In her sophomore year, Rickrich fell in love with animation, and her work was included in the Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition both her junior and senior years.
As a senior, she also received Gold Key and Silver Key awards in the Scholastic Art Competition, and she was selected for the Rising Stars Program at Savannah College of Art and Design in 2012.
"I've always loved animated movies, but I kind of stumbled into regular art classes my freshman year," she said.
"My sophomore year is when I went into animated art. That's when I knew that was what I was going to do the rest of my life."
Rickrich credited her parents and Central art teachers Craig Hoffman and Matt Young for inspiring her and nurturing her talents, as well as teachers at the Columbus College of Art and Design, where she's been taking weekend courses since her sophomore year.
"(Hoffman and Young) are both amazing teachers," she said. "They help guide you and help you grow as broad as possible.
"My parents have been really supportive of this. They got me into classes.
"A lot of times, a kid says, 'I want to go into art,' and their parents say, 'No.' My parents didn't do that."
Through her internship and college, Rickrich hopes to further hone her animation and writing arts skills, and she aspires to work in movies.
"I've always wanted to be part of the production of a movie," she said.
"I think working on a show or a game would be amazing, but long term, I think it's more movies for me."