Aldergrove student eyes future as an artist

Jenna Van Buekenhout - Submitted photo
Jenna Van Buekenhout
— image credit: Submitted photo

One of Aldergrove Secondary School's graduating students, Jenna Van Buekenhout has just been accepted into the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, where she will be starting post-secondary art training in August.

She has also won a Silver Medal in the Scholastic Arts Awards in New York City for her painting, titled "Underwater Giraffe".

"She is an extraordinary young woman that has consistently demonstrated integrity, a strong work ethic, energetic spirit, numerous artistic accomplishments and goal orientation," said Susan Gorris, visual art and ceramics teacher at Aldergrove Community Secondary School.

"Working with Ms. Van Buekenhout for the past four years at Aldergrove Community Secondary School has been a distinctive and rewarding experience. I have watched her research, technical skills, aesthetic accomplishment and artistic initiatives develop and flourish. Jenna has a sharp, inquiring mind. She challenges concepts and processes with maturity, clarity and purpose.

"Her innate sense of humour creates a social harmony that is welcome by teachers and student peers alike. The common sense and cooperative spirit that she consistently demonstrates is a profound asset to numerous problem-solving challenges that I have observed in our studio/classroom. Jenna is the first to assist, the first to recognize a need, the first to get the job done," said Gorris.

On her own initiative to become involved in an Aldergrove community Halloween event, Jenna worked with a small team of senior students who painted adult and youth faces for one very long Saturday in October 2013. The collective effort was so popular that a future repeat performance has already been offered.

Additional artwork outside of the visual art curriculum has been completed this year by Jenna. These ambitious projects were initiated by her and completed in a timely fashion, and most pieces were worked on daily, during lunch and after school.

Late this past fall, Jenna decided to try her hand at developing a display of her classmates' work. Entitled, “Turning Over A New Leaf”, Jenna had one hour to consider 26 drawn interpretations, a collection of large, shriveled maple leaves and several sheets of accompanying text.

Typically, she rose to the challenge with aplomb. Students and staff alike commented on the success of a time-honoured subject treated with obvious class. Two of Jenna’s colleagues approached her to assist with the installation, and Jenna accepted their help with patience and team-building skill.

Jenna has a passion for pursuing post-secondary art training, including her attendance at the 2012 Portfolio Day at Emily Carr University in Vancouver. Only in grade 11 at that time, she wanted a heads-up regarding the admission requirements, her own portfolio strengths and weaknesses and an introduction to a range of post secondary opportunities in North America.

"Her leadership qualities, mature attitude, highly developed social skills, technical acumen and creative spirit will ensure her continued success throughout her next educational chapter and beyond," said Gorris.

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