Student Has Running Start To Blend Love Of Tech And Art

Lucy Njaramba will be graduating with both her high school diploma from Harlem High School and her Associate’s degree from Rock Valley College this spring. This accomplishment is possible because they are a second-year Running Start student, which means they get to earn high school and college credit while taking classes at RVC.

Running Start gives high school students the opportunity to explore areas of study beyond the standard offerings at their high schools. At RVC, Lucy has been able to begin studying computer animation, allowing her to bring together her artsy and technical sides.

“I’ve always had an interest in film and TV, more specifically cartoons. I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon, so getting into how movies are made has been something I’m interested in.” Lucy has started to gain the skills to bring her drawings to life. She compares animation to being a puppeteer with a computer.

Like many people, Lucy has been watching a lot of movies as a way to relax during the pandemic.

“A big factor that plays into the kind of stories I want to tell is entertaining ones, like comedies because I know everyone needs to relax and laugh every now and again. I know I do with how our world is currently. So hopefully, what I make can help make people smile more.”

One of Lucy’s favorite animated movies is Disney Pixar’s Inside Out.

“I saw that and thought, oh, you’re able to tell these deep stories that you can show to kids, and that’s something cool that I’d like to do.” In addition to telling stories that make people laugh, Lucy said she wants to help tell stories that haven’t always been told in the media, like the stories of LBGTQ+, Black, and indigenous people.

Lucy will be continuing her education at DePaul University this fall, studying animation. They dream of one day working at Pixar, even if that means delivering coffee. We have a feeling she will be doing much more than that based on their success at RVC.

Lucy is a highly involved student. At Harlem High School, she’s a member of the National Honor Society and head of the AV Committee. And at RVC, she’s the Vice President of Fellowship for Phi Theta Kappa, the secretary for the Black Student Union, and the secretary for the Running Start Club. Lucy does it all and excels at it.

We asked Lucy what advice they would give a high school student considering the Running Start program, and she stressed the importance of being active and reaching out if you need help.

“Being in a college environment for the first time, you may be a little worried about talking to your peers in class, teachers, or advisors, but do that as much you can.”

If you’re a student who is apprehensive about applying for Running Start, Lucy said, “Do it anyway because sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot before we even give ourselves a chance. It’s a good opportunity that you may not get in the future, and experiencing the freedom that college gives you is worth it.”

To learn more about RVC Early College options, visit