Emma Raby seeking her art passion


Fidan Malikova

Junior Emma Raby.

Anusha Jayaprakash, Reporter

Bold lipstick, thick black glasses, and a stylishly assembled outfit are Emma’s go to. She puts herself together each morning, never passing up a chance to express her artistic vision. She attends school everyday, sitting through her classes, waiting until she can film, shoot, or write. She knows her passions and has built her life around the arts and her future in it.

Aspiring art student, Emma Raby, is a junior at Palatine High School, and she feels constrained by the structure and curriculum offered at PHS.

“After High School I want to go to an art school and focus on photography, film, and creative writing,” Emma Raby said. “ I’d like to work more on the creative side and the story process, not the technical side.”

She is taking courses that will help her get into an art school, but she finds that her options are extremely limited. Raby attempts to make up for the lack of options through her extracurricular activities.

“I took photography last year and video animation this year, but that’s only half a semester, and I only have two videos I actually want to keep in a portfolio,” Raby said. “After school I do photo club, but it’s not structured towards doing anything really productive and you can’t really find much to take pictures of.”

The lack of artistic opportunity that Raby faces makes her path to an art school much more difficult. Her ability to build a portfolio has been hampered by the structure of her art classes, and this affects her chances to being accepted to an art school.

“My counselor freaked out when I said I didn’t want to take another year of math. It’s such a distraction for me because it’s taking down my GPA when I could be dedicating my time to working on my videos, my photography, and on my writing.””

— Emma Raby

“For lots of art schools you need to submit a portfolio of your work, so you can get money for it and so they can accept you into their program.” Raby said. “It’s basically showing off all your techniques and your skills and what your art personality is.”

This is the way the many schools assess potential art students, and while PHS does offer a class to help students build their portfolios, it is mostly offered to seniors. The way curriculums are designed, has not only affect Raby but other students as well.

“I have been interested in a creative field, poetry specifically,” college freshman and Emma Raby’s sister Megan Raby said. “I haven’t explored it enough though, and I could never fit stuff into my schedule because I had too many other classes.”

The shifting focus of school to math and science career training has prevented students from exploring different creative fields. This is evident every winter, when students schedule their classes for the next year.

“They have her take math classes instead of creative classes,” Megan Raby said. “She hasn’t been able to take any artsy classes until this year.”

The creative classes at PHS are not available to take until junior, and sometimes senior, year. Beyond that, when Emma Raby was scheduling she was pushed to take a math class, rather than a class she is passionate about.

“My counselor freaked out when I said I didn’t want to take another year of math,” Emma Raby said. “It’s such a distraction for me because it’s taking down my GPA when I could be dedicating my time to working on my videos, my photography, and on my writing.”

Even within creative classes, Raby and other students are pushed into the technical side of the arts. She is told to focus on a career path that will make her money, rather than a field that she is passionate about.

“There’s definitely a push in like digital media to go into some type of engineering or coding,” Emma Raby said. “A lot of parents who are very concerned that art students are starving artist, they don’t make any money. There’re definitely teachers who push that you want to find a job that wouldn’t be fun for you but at least you have the skills like apply it to.”

Emma Raby just wants the school to provide more freedom and opportunities to art students. As of now, the school appears to be moving in the opposite direction, even though the greater importance given to math and science makes it difficult for creatively inclined students to discover and succeed at what they love