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Local Teacher Leads Carroll High School Into the Digital Era of Design


Photo credit: Sean O'Leary

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Written by: Communicator StaffMay 07, 2014

Carroll High School’s Jeremy McFarren has developed a unique set of digital art classes that have allowed students to feed off of their artistic inclinations by eliminating the terrors and tensions that stem from traditional art.

McFarren is currently teaching two entry-level digital design courses, two advanced digital design courses, and web design. Digital design classes, at least in high school, are not common, and McFarren has been championing their expansion at Carroll High School while focusing on making the lessons relevant for students in the future.

“The way I’ve geared them is to focus strongly on job creation and what you could do for a living. Things that employers want to see. I am giving them client-based work so that they can learn what it is like to make things for other people in the real world,” McFarren said.

Some of these real-world projects include re-branding local non-profit organizations such as Byron Health Center, creating posters for school productions, and putting their own spin on their favorite musician’s album covers.

A senior in the web design class has already found an internship maintaining the website for a local church and is excited about the future opportunities that McFarren’s art classes have created for him.

McFarren strives to teach his students why certain elements of digital art work the way they do and believes in giving them free reign over their projects rather than teaching them through a dull, tutorial-based curriculum.

“One of the things that parents want to see is how their kids are going to get a job because all they’ve seen are stereotypes of starving artists. I like to emphasize, in my programs, how their kids are going to make a living by creating art,” he said.

IPFW student, Haris Sabic, graduated from Carroll High School in 2010. He was in the first web design and digital design classes that McFarren offered.

“As a computer animation major, the classes I took in high school with Mr. McFarren taught me enough about the use of color and how to draw out my own creativity into the digital medium to know exactly where I wanted to go with digital art as soon as I began college. I hope the classes at Carroll High School expand because they help students enter college with an excellent base knowledge of digital art,” Sabic said.

McFarren’s classes have given high school students a chance to dabble in a rapidly evolving art medium that most high school students will, unfortunately, not have a chance to.

Story by: Muhamed Sulejmanagic