Working on ‘Tiger Eyes’ was such an amazing experience.

Early on, Elise Eberle knew she wanted to act. In fact, her career started to take off right about the same time she came to Albuquerque Academy. As a 6th grader, Elise signed on with a local talent agent, and within a year, had her first part in a Hollywood production, “The Astronaut Farmer,” starring Billy Bob Thornton.

Throughout her years at the Academy, Elise continued to get small roles in Hollywood films being made in New Mexico, including a speaking part in the Disney Channel movie, “Lemonade Mouth.” Elise says she often felt like she was living two separate lives-an Academy student by day and an actress by night, by weekend or any other time she was able.

As Elise entered her senior year, her two separate worlds began to come together. She was accepted into New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts, where she planned to study acting. She also landed a leading role in the Judy Blume film “Tiger Eyes,” which was being filmed in New Mexico. This, says Elise, was a turning point.

“Working on ‘Tiger Eyes’ was such an amazing experience,” she recalls. “The cast and crew were like a family and I knew this was what I wanted to do for a career.” Elise, who was a fan of Judy Blume’s books before she got the part, found it almost unbelievable that she was working with Blume, who not only was like a surrogate mother to her during the production, but was also her housemate. While working on Tiger Eyes during the fall of her senior year, Elise stayed in Blume’s house in Santa Fe. “I could not believe how supportive the Academy was of my acting career,” she says. “The Academy helped me. It was my senior year and I missed some classes during the two months of production. The school supported me and worked with me so that I could do the film without a negative impact on my studies.”

Later that year, Elise was selected for an internship at “Teen Vogue” Magazine, as part of her Senior Project. While she was in New York City, she successfully auditioned for the film “Breathe In,” which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

With this much early success, Elise decided to take advantage of the momentum, and before her first year of college even began, she moved to Los Angeles and to try and make it as an actress. “I was able to get a deferral from NYU,” she says. She believes having some real world experience under her belt will benefit her when she goes to college.

And, she says, she will go to college. “It’s so important to get an education. I know that,” she says. Elise says NYU has been very generous in giving her a couple of deferments, but she definitely plans on following through on her educational goals. But, she adds, she is getting a pretty good education in LA too. “I am taking methods classes and honing my craft,” she says. “Acting is just like anything else, you have to practice and work hard.”According to Elise, her Albuquerque Academy experience has helped her get ready, not only for her college career but also for her the challenge she faces in such a competitive field. “The Academy prepared me with discipline-to study my craft and to continue trying even when it’s difficult.”

“Tiger Eyes” was released in early June, to glowing reviews, including one from “Rolling Stone Magazine,” where Elise’s performance is specifically praised. The film is available in select theaters, and through Video on Demand, iTunes and other locations.