ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — The roots of a Hollywood success story can be traced to Western North Carolina. Joshua Beveridge, head of character animation for the Oscar-winning "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," said local teachers gave him the foundation to dream big.
"Every time I go back and visit, I say I grew up in a storybook," said Beveridge, who was part of Asheville High School's Class of 2000.
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
"As soon as they say it out loud, it was just elation," Beveridge said. "This was the big one. The whole night felt like a second wedding with my wife."
Asheville High's Alumni Center celebrates notable graduates, including legendary basketball player Henry Logan, rocker and humanitarian Warren Haynes and late comedian Shirley Hemphill.
"So, when you see students in the hall of fame, you see students who have blossomed,” said retired teacher Tom Williams, who believes we can all learn from them. “You always wonder what touched them early in their life to let them pursue their dreams.”
Beveridge’s creative path goes back to his youth here in the mountains.
"I feel really grateful about the experience I had growing up in Asheville,” Beveridge said.
In the 2000 Asheville High yearbook, students named him “Most likely to be seen on 'Star Search.'"
Even then, art was Beveridge’s super power.
"I was that kid that was drawing constantly,” he recalled. “Drawing, painting, sculpting, whatever I could. Every desk I sat at was littered in doodles of everyone else in the classroom. "
"His drawings were museum-worthy, even as a student,” said Williams, who was Beveridge’s art history teacher. “Just somebody who had incredible visual skills early on."
Beveridge credits great teachers like Williams for embracing his talent.
"I think he's one of those people that all of the students have a special place in their heart for,” Beveridge said.
As a student, you might say Beveridge blended in like Peter Parker while honing his craft.
"I didn't have to be the type of artist that rebelled to do art. I got to be supported, and I feel incredibly lucky,” he added.
Beveridge studied computer animation in Florida before moving to LA and becoming a different sort of ‘web’ designer.
"Hard work just buys you more luck opportunities. I'm a firm believer that hard work beats talent every day,” he stressed.
That’s the kind of ethic students today can draw from.
"Because we have a spot reserved for him in the hall of fame,” Willians said, pointing to the position. “And he's in the process of sending an 8x10 photograph.”
Our spider sense tells us Beveridge's just getting started.
"And I just feel incredibly lucky,” he said.