The Student News Site of Darien High School
Senior Grace Wakim, a current student in AP Studio Art, is focusing on noses for her portfolio.

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

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

Surviving The Graduation Art Requirement

Imagine it is senior year and the time has come to take a look at your transcript and prepare for graduation. You’ve always had a knack for writing, and you’ve taken every English elective the school has to offer. You’re sitting with your guidance counselor looking at different colleges, praising yourself for taking academic electives that might impress your future school of choice. It is at that moment when your guidance counselor turns to you alarmed; you are missing the required art credit.

In order to be eligible for a diploma and walk on the stage at graduation in June, every senior is required to have taken at least two credits of art during their time at DHS. That means a full two semesters of your schedule, at least a year’s worth of school, must include an art class.

If this fact terrifies you into the abyss because after finishing eighth grade art you thought you would never have to hold a paint brush again; do not fret. Fortunately DHS offers a wide array of different art classes to suit every interest: a whopping total of 54 courses fulfil the fine art graduation requirement.

Of course, there are the classical art classes. Whether you like drawing or are more attracted to clay, the art department allows students to cultivate their interests and grow in their particular artistic discipline.

If clay is your forte, it is possible to take ceramics all four years! With each level increase, you learn more advanced design techniques both on and off the wheel. If you like clay but only want a semester long course, clay sculpture is also offered where you focus on hand building techniques.

“I am passionate about clay and have taken ceramics every year of high school. I am now in AP Ceramics where I am working on making pitchers as the focus for my portfolio. It’s really cool that I’ve been able to really fine tune my skills over the years and grow into the artist I am now,” said senior Grace Silsby.

If you prefer the canvas to the wheel, a similar track exists for students more interested in two dimensional art. The first required prerequisite is Art Foundations, a semester long course where students dabble in different styles of painting and drawing. This course is followed by a series of drawing and painting classes, increasing incrementally in difficulty.

I was never particularly inclined to art, but I love building stuff and working with wood in the tech-ed department. It’s nice that I can fulfill my art requirement while doing something that I enjoy even if it isn’t traditional art. Technically I am still being creative, so that is all that matters,”

— senior Shane Ford

“I am enrolled in AP Studio Art right now, and I absolutely love it. I work really hard on all my pieces so it’s nice to get the extra GPA boost from AP Studio Art and Honors Drawing and Painting last year, although the boost is definitely well deserved. I do more work on my art than I do for any traditionally academic class that I am taking,” said senior Grace Wakim.

If you want to avoid the traditional art routes or are just looking to fulfil your two two credit requirement, the art department offers other great semester long courses like photography, printmaking, art history, and graphic design.

If you feel so strongly that you want to avoid the upper floor of the F-wing, you may find what you are looking for in the tech-ed department. Architecture, DIY (do it yourself), Drafting, Engineering, Applications of Chemistry and Physics, and Woodworking all fulfill the fine arts requirement; you can graduate without ever seeing a paintbrush.

Music could also be your calling, and every class in the music department meets the needs to graduate.

Other classes at DHS that fulfil the art requirement include drama, computer science, marketing, and video production.

If you feel worried that you aren’t going to graduate due to your lack of artistic talent, or know that your ineptitude with paint could earn you less than an A on your perfect transcript, rest assured. There’s an art course out there for everyone.

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