Joe Guo '22

School & Program
OCAD University, Experimental Animation

Meadowridge Student Since
Grade 2

Born in
Vancouver, BC

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Describing myself, I might say: fencer, artist, and shy. In my early years, I was really shy—I literally couldn’t talk to people. The moment someone came up to me, I would have nothing to say and would just stand there. After coming to Meadowridge, I started talking to more people and learned to communicate a lot better. I still have issues when it comes to talking, but I’d say it has improved. Another thing I started when I came to Meadowridge was fencing, which I got into in Grade 4 after my brother joined the club. My first few practices I basically ran around in a circle and learned to foil, but over the years I got better and more competitive. Now, I am actually one of the club coaches. I am also a competitive fencer myself and took home first place at the 2018 Canadian Nationals.

Over the years, especially during the pandemic, my approach to fencing has shifted from competitive to fun. My interest in art started when I was in Grade 2. My parents signed me up for an art class—they were signing us up for all sorts of things back then—and I remember learning to sketch and draw. Later, in other courses, I learned how to paint and animate. Really, though, my love for animation comes from animations and cartoons. I’d watch funny characters in funny moments and think, I want to do that! I started, then just kept doing it. When it came time to pick what I wanted to do in university, I knew right away: art school. I love it, and I’m good at it too.

How did you first find yourself at Meadowridge?

My brother was being bullied at his old school. I was in Grade 1 back then and having the best life, but it had been hard for him at our old school so we had to move, which ended up being for the best. When I first came to Meadowridge, I hated it. Most people could adapt but, for me, it was a constant cluster of what is this and how can I keep up? My brain was unable to focus. I did settle in after a while, especially when I started to think differently. I realized I usually look at the bad and sad side of things, but I’ve learned over time to see the brighter side of things. I began to think differently. Life is like art: it’s a process, and not everyone will always be on the same step.

One of my favourite memories is of my Grade 10 trip to the Vancouver Aquarium. We went for a full day to just sketch and draw. That was magnificent.

Tell us about your year ahead.

I’ll be attending OCAD, which is in Toronto, Ontario. My brother, David [Guo ‘20], goes to the University of Toronto so we’ll be sharing a condo. He knows more about Toronto than I do, so I feel thankful that he’ll be there. He’s also more responsible than me. Without him, I would probably be stuck in my apartment with ramen cups and creating art—kind of like Golem. My brother will keep me more civilized since he’s a bit stricter. No! You can’t buy everything. No! Don’t use UberEATS every single day… Anyways, at OCAD I’ll start off with animation, which is quite hands-on, and I’m excited about that. Other than school, I’d also like to find a fencing club to join.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

Learning about animation and expanding my skills. I know how to animate, but don’t feel like my commitment has been to its fullest. I’m not at the peak yet. I’m just sketching. I’m excited to learn the professional skills that will get you jobs, things like digital animation, colour composition, how to create background, lighting… all those things.

What will you miss most as you move onto the next chapter?

I’m going to miss the companionship of my Diploma Programme (DP) Art class. We started off with six and ended up with five. I talk to that group a lot and we talk about everything: our feelings, how our day went, how our art is going… I’ll also miss my teachers, who I know I can always talk to for some help. I’ll miss my Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class, which I thought would be just another Career-Life Connections course but it actually ended up being really good.

Favourite Meadowridge Memory.

One of my favourite memories is of my Grade 10 trip to the Vancouver Aquarium. We went for a full day to just sketch and draw. That was magnificent. Back then, there were no masks, no mandates— it was just a full day of sketching and talking to people. I also had a great time during our Week Without Walls (WWOW) trip to the Indian Arm. First, I got to spend time in the wilderness. Second, it was actually really fun. We kayaked, explored, cooked, slept outside, and sat around the campfire. Every morning, we’d cook some breakfast and then ride again and travel to another island. On one island, we found a waterfall which me and some other students climbed up and jumped into. It was freezing! When we came home, it helped me talk to more people too. It was just a good trip overall.

Making the most out of Meadowridge – what wisdom can you pass on?

Do not procrastinate, take good notes, focus on your to-do list… I have lots of advice, so I’ll just rattle it all off! Delete YouTube, get Grammarly, get advice from your teachers, talk to friends, make a friend group. If you are insecure, move on. For future DP Art students, create at least five pieces and do not slack on your Comparative Study assignment. Go out more, talk to more people, and don’t just stay in your room. Also, find another place besides just your room to study! Take notes, but do it with a bright pen and highlighter. You want colour and pizzaz! Be nice to your teachers and don’t be rude—actually, just be nice to everyone. Create relationships. Check your email. Always check your email. Regulate your video game time. And, finally, don’t compare your art to other people’s. Focus on you and only you.

Congratulations to our 2022 Graduates

The Class of 2022 is graduating from one of the most rigorous academic programs in the world. Throughout the past year, and throughout their journey with us at Meadowridge, they have exhibited grace, courage, intelligence, and kindness.

They are all going on to prestigious schools nationally and internationally, to join rigorous programs in a variety of disciplines, and, most importantly, to make a positive impact in our world. We are proud of what they have achieved, and despite knowing change is the only certainty, we are confident that these young people are prepared to not only meet the future, but also to create it.

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