Seniors pursuing creative futures in college


Maxwell Fernandez

A self portrait by senior Maxwell Fernandez for Art All-State Massachusetts.

Emma McNulty, Staff Writer

From lively music, elegant turns, to explosions of color, the arts provide an opportunity for students to create and express themselves. WHS seniors Maxwell Fernandez and Sofia Scully-Power are using college as an opportunity to further pursue their creative expression.

While both students are interested in art, they are pursuing different paths in college. Fernandez expressed his plans to attend Syracuse University and study to become an architect, combining his interests in math and art.

“Architecture kind of draws from multiple disciplines. It’s very artistic because you want to make something that is interesting to look at and be in, but there’s math that you need to know,” Fernandez said.

On the other hand, Scully-Power plans to attend American University and double major in business and art. In doing this, she hopes to create more opportunities for herself in the future.

“If I’m in college and I start selling paintings, then I can start a business out of it. I

could continue with that, but I could also have the traditional business or corporate start at a company,” Scully-Power said.

WHS art teacher Julie Hom-Mandell teaches both Fernandez and Scully-Power. She praised Fernandez for connecting his art to the world around him.

“His work has such significance and meaning in terms of specific art movements and social justice. He’s keeping art as the umbrella and making connections to his own world and the world around him. That is a wonderful quality to have as an artist,” Hom-Mandell said.

Hom-Mandell also praised Scully-Power’s work, specifically being impressed by Scully-Power’s precision.

“Her ability to compose compositions is quite remarkable. One thing I’ve noticed about her over the past three or four years is her attention to detail, the color mixing. She has this kind of rhythmic way of drawing,” Hom-Mandell said.

Although Scully-Power is a skilled artist, she still found the process of applying to collegiate arts programs challenging.

“Something about college and art that people don’t know is how hard it is to submit a portfolio and how long it takes. It’s like having an extra college application for every other school,” Scully-Power said.

While applying to arts programs is difficult, Fernandez expects the hard work to pay off. He is looking forward to seeing how being in a learning environment with people who share his interests will shape his work.

“I think that everyone in the program is going to be super driven on what they’re doing. I think that the whole atmosphere of a program where I am surrounded by like-minded individuals will shape my work,” Fernandez said. “It’s also a big step from being in high school where some people take an art class just because they need a credit.”

Additionally, Hom-Mandell added how she wishes that Fernandez and Scully-Power will continue to express themselves through their artistic work in college and beyond.

“I hope through my classes, if I give [Fernandez and Scully-Power] a choice and a voice, they’ll become passionate students that feel validated,” Hom-Mandell said. “I hope that they have opinions and feel that their ideas and experiences can make a difference, and I hope that they carry that with them as they experience whatever they decide to do professionally.”