Alicen Bloomer, a 2023 graduate of Hardin Valley Academy, earned a perfect score on the AP 2-D Art & Design Exam. Alicen is one of only 337 students in the world to earn every point on this exam.
AP art students at HVA are taught by art teacher Ben Eng. The class meets at 7 a.m. every day. Students create a portfolio of work for submission to the College Board for the chance to earn Advanced Placement college credit.
I was able to speak with Alicen about this incredible accomplishment and she penned her words for this article in hopes to inspire other students to stay focused on their goals.
“When I found out about this achievement, I was stoked! After devoting weeks, months and years into improving my art, this was incredibly validating of my hard work. However, I wouldn’t be here without the incredible people supporting me on my journey.
“My family has always pushed me to be better and consoled me when I didn’t feel like enough. My parents always told me I could do anything I set my heart to and without that mentality, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this. They’ve fully submerged themselves into the ‘artist parent’ experience, from driving me to portfolio reviews to surprising me with a new sketchbook.
“My art teacher, Mr. Eng, was also super influential in the success of my portfolio. Every artist needs someone who can be blunt about how you can improve but also gives you the tools and motivation to do so. He held me accountable for finding ways to improve my art, and I am very grateful for that even if I was frustrated at times.
“Using all the works I created, I was able to make an art portfolio for college applications, and I was accepted into the ETSU Honors College under the Fine and Performing Arts cohort.
“This is an amazing opportunity that has given me a wonderful community as well as opportunities to enhance my art career. With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of hard work, you can take control of the life you have been given and achieve things you never thought you could.”
Thank you to Alicen for sharing her words and to the dedication of teachers like Ben Eng who support, encourage and mentor talented students to achieve their goals.
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