Alex Willis, a senior at Fox High School, is literally shaping her future. With an impressive course load filled with numerous Advanced Placement (AP) classes, the aspiring artist decided she also wanted to pursue AP college credit using her passion in sculpture.
Fox High School does not offer an art studio AP class at this point, although students may petition to take an extra study hall and create an AP art course on their own. Derick Holdenried, one of the high school’s five art teachers, encouraged Willis to pursue sculpture and has acted as her portfolio’s overseer.
“Mr. Holdenried basically asked if I’d be interested in taking AP art and making a portfolio,” Willis said. “To qualify, I had to go to my counselor and convince her I could take an extra study period to get this work done.”
Willis enjoyed her art classes when she was younger. In high school, she discovered sculpture in one of Holdenried’s classes and became hooked.
“Freshman year, I took a 3D art class where we did different projects like masking masks out of a balloon and papier mache,” Willis said. “This was really my first experience doing something bigger with art, and I liked it.”
Southern Illinois University in Carbondale has already accepted Willis, and she will be studying psychology and art there in the fall.
“I’m currently taking an AP psychology class as well,” Willis said. “At Carbondale, I’m going to major in psychology and minor in art. That way, I can hopefully do some kind of art therapy as a counselor in the future.”