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A College Dream

Ryan Panco graduated from Seminole High School last year hoping to go to a college where he could continue to study art. Unfortunately, his hope is still a dream. In the mean time, he is working and saving all of his money.

Ryan really liked high school and had lots of friends. Some of his friends went to college. It wasn't until they began asking him where he was going that he thought about it. He did look into attending the Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design; "but I can't afford that one," Ryan says.

In his neighborhood high school, Ryan took every art class he could. "I like using paint, colored pencil, scratchboard. All kinds of media," he says. Ryan also likes economics and math.

The Fence, which was chosen for the 2005 AP Studio Art Exhibit, is Ryan's favorite of all his pieces. He says, "It is really detailed. I like the contrast of black and white. I love scratchboard. It's a sheet of clay with black ink over it and you scratch it to create negative space and shadows. For my AP Portfolio I chose structures as a topic and was doing stuff with perspective. I went around my neighborhood and I saw a fence and thought 'That's cool to draw.'"

Most of all, though, Ryan wants to study animation. In summer camp once, he was able to do some "claymation"; but it was really slow. He would rather produce the kind of animation that you see in videos or computer games, something interactive. "I've always loved art, my whole life. Since I was little, I've loved drawing pictures. . . . My high school art teacher, Ms. Harbison, motivated me. She liked my realistic work."

Since Ryan really didn't think about going to college until the end of high school, he didn't take the PSAT/NMSQT. His art teacher worked with him and he did end up taking the SAT, just to see how he would do, "to challenge himself." Ryan says, "I did pretty good; but I wanted to get higher. I always wanted to get the best."

In his free time, after work, Ryan does crossword puzzles to challenge himself. "I can get really into something, especially if it is challenging. I stay focused on that. If I got into a piece that I really wanted to do, I'd do it all of the time. I'd be disappointed when the class ended and I had to go," Ryan says.

Although college is still a dream for Ryan, with determination and a little help, maybe his classes haven't ended — at least not yet.