Painting a Path in Life

Rocklin senior’s experience with AP Studio Art


More stories from Ryan Barbieri


Self portrait painted by Gia Fosson

Ask almost any high schooler about their opinions on the newest rap album or political views, and they’ll be happy to rant for an hour or two. Only the best artists, however, will be able to show you their deepest thoughts and feelings without saying a word.

Senior Gia Fosson is in Ms. Hayes’ AP Studio Art class here at Rocklin High School, after taking art as an elective since the start of middle school at Granite Oaks.

“I had Ms. Lima, she was awesome,” said Gia. “She definitely taught me a lot, and kind of just helped me start up art a little bit more seriously.”

Though Gia took Art I and II in middle school, she decided to also take art for all four years at Rocklin. As she continued to practice her skills she also learned new media and subjects.

“I’m really excited to try to concentrate my work into something more meaningful and specific.”

The COVID-19 pandemic did not necessarily hinder the progress made by the art students, but they did have to adjust to a very different environment. In Gia’s Art III (back when the world ran on Zoom) the students were almost always independent and only checked in with the teacher for a few minutes every day.

“It was kind of weird not being able to work next to people or have that environment where you’re asking for other peoples’ opinions,” she said. 

VAPA programs were specifically difficult to run during the pandemic, but the art program is currently doing just fine. Many students continue into Art IV their senior year, which is a great class for those who are done with art after high school or those who wish to continue in the future. It’s still an advanced level art class but students who have a strong passion for art and motivation along with it can decide to take AP Studio Art.

“For AP Art you’re working on a portfolio with a concentration, or a specific theme that all of your pieces fit in,” said Gia.

The portfolio contains 20 pieces that can be created from any time in the past. At the end of the school year, the portfolio is sent to College Board and is graded by them. It’s one of the only AP classes that doesn’t use an AP test for college credit. One benefit to the course is that there aren’t many requirements for the high school side of it. Ms. Hayes is really just there to guide and help the students to that College Board deadline. However, there are regular check-ups to make sure they’ll meet the deadline.

“It’s really fast due dates,” said Gia, “but I’m really excited to try to concentrate my work into something more meaningful and specific.”

Gia also plans to try out different types of media this year, and even will try to mix different types together. Mixing pens, water colors and pencils can all enhance the same piece that only uses one media. After she graduates, Gia plans to pursue art as a career after attending a college.

“I’m looking into Art Education specifically, [in order] to be an art teacher,” said Gia. “That seems like a very practical career to go into and is interesting to me.”

Gia hasn’t decided on a college yet, but she has a goal in mind to leave the same impact on art students that her teachers left on her.