February 11, 2019

F.I.R.S.T. Institute Celebrates 15 Years!

F.I.R.S.T. Institute is proud to celebrate 15 years of educational excellence in 2019. This accredited and licensed technical college has become an industry leader in Central Florida over the past decade and a half. That’s why administrators made the bold decision to launch new extended programs for its students.

This new, innovative rollout was designed to ensure all F.I.R.S.T. students are prepared for the continuously growing digital media and entertainment industry after graduation. Every class within the three technical programs offered on the Orlando, Florida campus is being “redesigned, reimagined, reordered and split out.”

Currently, F.I.R.S.T. Institute offers three digital media and entertainment programs:

  1. Recording Arts &Show Production Program
  2. Digital Filmmaking & VideoProduction Program
  3. Graphic Design & Web Development Program

Until now, each of these valuable programs required 744 hours of coursework and hands-on projects to graduate. F.I.R.S.T. has added 156 hours to every program, increasing the new extended programs to 900 hours each.

Benefits of the New Extended Programs at F.I.R.S.T. Institute

Over the past decade and a half, F.I.R.S.T. has continued to transform its staff, campus, technology, and equipment. Now, in honor of its 15th anniversary, the school is expanding its programs too. The technical school’s Director Donney Smith says:

“I am in awe of how much our institution has flourished over the past 15 years. We are proud to host a growing alumni group that has gone on to shape the Digital Media industry in Central Florida and across the globe.

In an effort to keep up with the everchanging industry, we have further polished and refined our programs for our students. We want our graduates a step above the rest and always aim to give them the best knowledge that sets them up for success in the future.

We are excited to announce that our March 2019 students will enjoy the benefits of our newly developed programs. Here’s to another 15 years of academic excellence!”

Students will benefit from the added hours. This gives them more time for classroom instruction, hands-on lab hours, and courses provided by the Orlando school’s Career Development Department. Even with the new extended program hours, dedicated students can still graduate in under one year.

F.I.R.S.T. Institute students get much more than higher learning education. Every student is required to spend quality time learning from and working with the Career Development Department. Its sole purpose is to help students and alumni search, apply, and interview for jobs in their fields, and actually land them.

All administrators, instructors, and faculty members must currently work as professionals in their industries to teach at this Orlando digital media college. This ensures students are taught by people keeping up with current industry trends, while helping to extend the professional networks for the students.

The new extended programs at F.I.R.S.T. Institute are set to launch on Monday, March 18, 2019. Dedicated students who start on this date can graduate as soon as February 2020.

Enrollment is open now.

Creativity Meets Career

F.I.R.S.T. Institute opened its Orlando doors to begin educating students in 2004 in the digital media and entertainment industries. From the beginning, its educators vowed to provide an innovative, hands-on experience to each individual student. That’s why this higher learning facility is dedicated to keeping class sizes small, so no student goes unnoticed.

Over time, the school teamed up, collaborated and networked with some key industry professionals throughout Central Florida and across the globe. Students have worked with some big names over the years to complete real-world projects in video, audio, filmmaking, show production, and graphic and web.

Many alumni have gone on to land jobs and careers with major production companies and studios, as you can see from the Graduate Spotlights.

See It, Hear It, Do It

Students learn using cutting-edge production equipment and digital technology. Coursework is designed so students learn in a hands-on environment, so they are prepared for real-world projects and challenges. Some of the benefits of attending F.I.R.S.T. Institute in 2019 include access to the following:

  • Fully-equipped audio recording studios
  • Innovative video editing suites
  • State-of-the-art film school technology
  • Creative show production venue
  • Large film sound stage
  • Graphic development labs with personal workstations

Here, instructors live by the See It, Hear It, Do It teaching philosophy. They strive to give students the teaching, training, and hands-on experience needed to thrive in the real world as digital media specialists. This is done by using a 3-tier structure, so students thoroughly understand their industries:

  1. See It: Watch and learn from industry professionals
  2. Hear It: Classroom instruction from industry experts
  3. Do It: Hands-on learning through real-world projects

Today, here at F.I.R.S.T., the motto is Creativity Meets Career for this digital media school. That’s why each program is designed to provide “career-specific” training, so students are employable immediately upon graduation.

Orlando’s F.I.R.S.T. Institute Offers 3 Digital Media Programs

Over the past 15 years, F.I.R.S.T. has evolved from a small web design and creative arts school to a full-fledge higher learning institution. The Orlando technical college offers programs related to live show creation, music and video production, independent filmmaking, web and graphic design and web development.

Here are the three higher learning technical programs offered at F.I.R.S.T. Institute and what they are all about:

1. Recording Arts& Show Production Program

Students in the Recording Arts and Show Production program learn how to record, mix and produce audio. These sound engineers create audio for music tracks and videos, live shows, movies and films, TV, commercials and much more. So, there is no shortage of jobs for students entering this industry with this wide range of skills.

The curriculum includes tools and resources needed to land jobs after completing the program. Graduates leave understanding the fundamentals of music production, audio engineering, live sound reinforcement and audio visual production. To qualify for graduation, each sound engineering student must complete an album or other real-world audio production project.

2. Digital Filmmaking & Video Production Program

Students in the Digital Film and Video Production program learn how to shoot, direct and edit video and film. These film producers create visuals for short, independent films, commercials, music videos and much more. So, each student graduates from the program with a well-rounded education that opens them up to numerous types of jobs in the filmmaking and video production arena.

The curriculum includes teachings and projects that give students the experience needed to perform well in related jobs and careers. Graduates are prepared to tackle tasks pertaining to broadcasting, cinema and HD video production. In order to graduate, every video and film student must produce a short independent film, commercial or music video as a real-world class project.

3. Graphic Design & Web Development

Students who attend the Graphic Design and Web Development program learn how to design digital graphics, as well as design and develop dynamic websites professionally. These digital designers and developers begin with the basic fundamentals of multimedia design, eventually transforming into advanced graphics creators and web programmers. So, graduates of this program are well-equipped to enter this competitive job market.

The curriculum includes learning state-of-the-art software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and of course, WordPress. Upon graduation, students are qualified to skillfully create and produce digital illustrations, photography images and photoshoots, graphic layouts, animations, motion graphics, digital portfolios and other creatives needed to conquer this job market in the real world.

What Do Graduates Say About F.I.R.S.T. Institute?

In May and December of 2018, proud F.I.R.S.T. students walked across the stage to become graduates of the Orlando technical school. You could see the pride in each one’s eyes as they made their way through the pomp and circumstance graduation walks. Here’s what some of these alumni had to say about their now-alma mater:

Mihaela Coman: Student Graduation Speech

Mihaela Coman is a graduate of the Recording Arts & Show Production program. During her Spring 2018 graduation speech, she talks about learning industry-standard software and recording live artists in a state-of-the-art studio. F.I.R.S.T. Institute helped Mihaela transform her passion into an actual career.

She told other graduates, “Have the intention that your work benefits others… let’s be passionate and move forward.”

David Lorenzo: Valedictorian Graduation Speech

David Lorenzo graduated as Valedictorian of the F.I.R.S.T. Institute class of December 2018. He credits the higher learning institution with teaching him in the best way possible, through hands-on learning. David speaks of the valuable relationships created during the 11-month program, giving him a lifelong professional network.

The Recording Arts & Show Production alumni told his fellow graduates, “Keep making beats, music, songs, lyrics, mixes and masters… and have an incredible life.”

Graduate Janayia Welton

According to F.I.R.S.T. graduate, Janayia Welton, her favorite Graphic Design & Web Development project was the application mockup. It allowed the students to use their creativity to come up with various apps that can solve problems for people in the world.

Janayia offers advice to busy people with jobs and families trying to attend school. She says that no matter how long it takes, don’t get discouraged. Just keep moving, stay on track and never give up.

Graduate Emmanuel Matias

F.I.R.S.T. Institute graduate Emmanuel Matias was happy to tell us about his favorite project in the Recording Arts & Show Production program. Various students brought in different pieces of equipment and instruments, from a piano to a microphone, for a group project. Together, the students created a song from scratch. Emmanuel called it an “off course” project, which involved using the industry-standard equipment to produce their own track.

His advice to others, just stick to it, no matter how challenging it gets. If you want it, nobody can stop you.

Graduate Christopher Leshnick

The Graphic Design & Web Development program sponsored a contest, which quickly became the favorite project of F.I.R.S.T. graduate Christopher Leshnick. Contestants had to create a digital poster. He chose Paddington Bear. Christopher has a passion for the art of photography. Through his higher education at the Orlando adult school, he now knows how to transform simple photos into digital masterpieces.

He plans to take his skills with him on a new career at Sea World and possibly his own photo studio someday.

Graduate Janet Lavigne

F.I.R.S.T. graduate Janet Lavigne says the support vector machine AKA the SVM project was her favorite as a Recording Arts & Show Production student. This group project involved removing all of the audio from a film clip and replacing it with their own sound creations. She says it was really exciting producing the ADR and sound design for the 1.5 minute video.

Janet is currently building her demo reel and honing her skills by doing free projects for others. Her future goals are to merge with other professionals to create a short film, series, YouTube show and/or work at EA also known as Electronic Arts Inc. in the sound design arena.

Her advice to other students, “Take advantage of all of the resources of your school… definitely get involved with all the programs.”

Click here to watch what graduates have to say.

F.I.R.S.T. Institute Student Housing Opportunities

Thinking about attending, but concerned about housing? F.I.R.S.T. has teamed up with two different student housing providers to help you find and settle into your new home right near the school’s Orlando campus:

  1. EDUrent – Student-friendly housing secured via the web
  2. Homestay Anywhere – Furnished apartments ready for immediate move-in

Both of these Orlando student housing providers work with you individually to help you find a place to stay no more than 10 minutes from the F.I.R.S.T. campus.

They also help students find roommates who attend F.I.R.S.T., so you can live with students just like you. Ride, network, and study together for an even more enhanced educational experience.

Click here to learn more about student housing.

The F.I.R.S.T. Institute Technical College Experience

F.I.R.S.T. Institute is proud to be a licensed and accredited higher learning institution in the State of Florida:

This accredited technical college has evolved over the last 15 years into a student environment filled with young digital media and entertainment professionals. Learn from industry experts using cutting-edge software and equipment right here in the exciting City of Orlando, Florida.

In celebration of our 15th year as an accredited and licensed school, our new extended programs start on Monday, March 18, 2019. Enroll in a program today, and you could be graduating as early as February 2020.