How many years have you attended MFS?
I’ve been here since I was four, so twelve years. I started in prekindergarten.
What do you remember most about Lower School?
I remember loving the creative aspects of the Lower School. I always knew I wanted to be doing creative things. I talked to my mom about what we did in art class, and I remember her saying that she loved how even when we were little we never colored inside the lines. We were always pushed to use our own imaginations from a really young age, they fostered our creativity.
Is there a specific art project that stands out to you from Lower School?
One thing that stands out to me even now is that we would do observational drawings. The teachers would sit on the tables and we would draw portraits of them. I’m taking drawing classes now, and we still do things like that. We also worked on self-portraits when we were little. I remember setting up mirrors. We always had really creative assignments. We had this one project where we painted all this stuff coming out of our heads to show our thoughts and wishes, so it was mixing, from a young age, the skills of observational drawing with imagination.
Did the teachers at MFS have anything to do with your passion for art?
Teachers here are amazing. If you come to them with an interest, they’ll do everything to take that interest and push you in ways that you never thought you could go. Last year, I told Mr. Marcucci and Ms. Edmund that I really liked doing portraits and I wanted to study that. We set up an independent study for me, and I was able to complete about 50 pieces last year.
How did working with the art teachers help you develop your talent?
When I started last year, I was only drawing with pencils. Then they pushed me to use charcoal, and from that I moved into pastel, which is a huge jump because it’s from black and white to suddenly using color. From that I started doing watercolor and oil paint. So in the course of a year, I went from only working in pencil to having this huge repertoire of many different mediums.
All of the teachers have been really involved in getting us to challenge ourselves inside and outside of school. I’ve been taking classes at Moore College of Art and Design for three years now, after a recommendation from Ms. Edmund, and I won an award there last year. They did a high school exhibit for the first time, and I got second place for one of my paintings. I entered two pieces, and for my work in general I won second place out of all the high school students. I also placed third in the Deborah Heart Challenge Art Competition for my watercolor painting.
What types of projects are you working on right now?
I’m continuing my work from last year but doing so much more. I’m doing studio art in my own time, and Ms. Edmund lets me use her room. The whole community is so perfect about understanding how individuals are and what they need. The Upper School Director, Mr. Brandon, always asks me how my art is going. He knows what I’m working on. The teachers are also helping me submit two AP portfolios, which is great because that’s normally only for seniors. Next year, I’ll be in the AP Studio Art class.
Most recently, I shot the cover and cover story for the University of Pennsylvania Law School magazine, Penn Law Journal (see photo above).
What do you think is unique about MFS?
I think it’s amazing that the teachers are taking their own time to help someone who’s not even in their classes. I’m so grateful for that. Sophomore year, Mr. Marcucci spent so much of his own time helping me and challenging me and making me the artist that I am today. I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I showed up in Mr. Webster’s room this year and said, “I’ve never taken a photography class at school before but I’d like to pursue this.” And he said, “Yeah, I’ll help you!” He didn’t know me, and he helped me. I just think that’s amazing.
What kind of advice do your teachers give you?
Ms. Robinson, my science teacher freshman and sophomore year, gives me advice on a daily basis. My teachers all show in different ways that it’s okay to do what you want and be who you are and be your own person. MFS is really good at picking teachers who exemplify that idea with their own lives. Ms. Robinson has been a huge part of my life. She gives me inspiration. Instead of motivating only through her words, she motivates me with her life.
Ms. Robinson came out to the opening of my art exhibition in Philly, on a school night, to support me, and I thought that was really special. I see how she acts and I think my teachers are good role models.
Any of the teachers here, you can meet with them at any time and they’ll help you out. Ms. LuBrant, my math teacher — this is the first time I’ve had her as a teacher, and I have spent so many periods going over problems with her. Now I have an A in math. It’s honors pre-calc, and I’m so excited that I have an A. I need to go over math several times to understand it, and she takes the time to do that with me, and I’m so thankful for that.
Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
I just started going to Gender Equality Forum and I’m in Environmental Club. I’m also painting a mural at school this year in the Upper School hallway (a full replication of Girl with a Pearl Earring).
How do you balance your outside projects with schoolwork?
I’m taking mostly honors classes this year, so it’s a lot of coursework and I’m always trying to get art into my schedule. I want to paint and draw on a daily basis, but during the week I have a lot of homework. So on Saturdays, I wake up really early and go to my class at Moore until noon. Then I come home, and paint until about midnight on Saturdays. I’ll work on whatever pieces I’m working on for my AP portfolio. For my AP concentration, I’m focusing on fantasy and escape and looking at both of those themes in my art and photography.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I know I want to center my future around art and photography. Lately, I’ve been thinking I want to pursue commercial photography. I feel like I have so many options, like I could do anything. I could go into illustration, marketing. For a job, I’d most likely be involved with commercial photography, and I want to study art in college.
Do you think you’ll miss MFS when you go away to school?
I’m going to miss it. I think about that a lot. When I was younger, people (my brother included) would talk about how MFS feels like home to them. And then I got to high school, and it really became a part of me too. All of the teachers become a part of your life, and then you have to leave them. You’re so excited for college, but you have to leave this community that you’ve grown to love.