Senior Grace Wakim, a current student in AP Studio Art, is focusing on noses for her portfolio.

The Walls of DHS

The typical AP classes at Darien High School consist of APES, APUSH (AP US History), and HUGS (otherwise known as AP human geography). These are the classes that every try-hard takes, essentially. Some (not all) give you that grade boost you need, while others are the most time consuming classes of your life. And this concept of time consuming means that you read more than 25 pages of straight information every night, teaching yourself through it all. In many AP level classes, the teachers teach “to the test”. This means they base their whole year around the one thing that measures what the class has accomplished; The final product is the AP exam.

These all sound terrifying, trust me. But after taking a deeper look into the AP courses offered at our school, the one that you would expect to be the least intense really is the most captivating. AP Art!

It is not always the easiest route, but they put in a ton of work and end up with really great stuff on the other side”

— Art teacher Mr. Christopher Skaggs

During this time of the year (spring into summer), the art department puts on a huge art show with pieces of pottery, paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc all around the school on display. Walking through the halls during this time is truly eye-opening. The art department that has resided within these brick walls is growing, and constantly allowing students to express themselves, outside the classroom.

This class not only is a way for students to express their gifts or ideas, but it is also a different type of AP that we give as an opportunity to high school kids. It is so different compared to the normal sit down lecture.

The work produced by the students here is truly insane. The standard of artwork is better than a majority of schools around us, and for any public town school, the art department overall stands out. The specific AP level class is just one example of how extreme the care we have for art is. Our school has this sense of pride and somewhat cockiness when it comes to the department.

A conversation with art teacher Mr. Christopher Skaggs, gave me insight on what his opinion is on the art students of Darien High School. His admiration for his students was so cool to see unravel. He first fawned over their ambition. He compared DHS to other schools and we were the only group of students he has had that stick with their original ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem. Perhaps this serves as a deeper insight into our town, even our athletics. We as a large unit do not seem to be quitters, given the numerous amounts of banners hanging with State and County Titles all over. Mr. Skaggs then added that, “It is not always the easiest route, but they put in a ton of work and end up with really great stuff on the other side”.

Pictured is the ceramic work done by student Sarah Jaques

In another encounter with the head of the Art Department, she expressed her gratitude for the students, especially their hard working talents. She emphasized that “The art AP is the most time consuming of all AP classes in my opinion because students could spend 20 to 40 hours on a single piece”.  The time that goes into this class specifically is crazy.

To me, it is incredible to see a student excel in something that is not directly academically or athletically related to anything. In our town sports and being a part of the team seems to be one fraction of the “status quo”, but after learning more about the intricacy of the art department and seeing the incredible pieces by students my own age, I am in awe as the the talent that I am surrounded by. My own sister Kelly Dolce said to me the other day that it was “the most rewarding class”, while showing me the pieces she mastered throughout her time in the art wing this past year.


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