Art & Culture

Anzar High senior reaches out through art therapy

Jordan Driver’s “Grad X” project helps participants access emotions.
Ruby Rodriquez's work.
Ruby Rodriquez's work.

When Anzar High School student Jordan Driver took on her senior project, she did not foresee what she and the students she worked with would learn, or how much the project would impact them.

All students at Anzar are required to take part in the graduation exhibition program referred to as Grad X. The program focuses on “complex, issue-based projects that include an extensive research paper, an oral presentation, and a question/answer session,” according to the school website.

Driver, a 2019 graduate, chose art therapy for her project. Using the outline of a human body, she asked 10 fellow students to fill in the outline with different colors to express different emotions. She received a Metzger Scholarship that she plans to use to move forward in her education at the college she attends.

“I was surprised at how open the students were,” she said.

Driver chose to focus on art therapy because she has long been interested in art and psychology. To her surprise, most of her fellow students felt the art therapy was a positive experience.

A friend of Driver’s, Ruby Rodriguez, had been going through a personal problem at the time. She said she cried while talking with Driver about her outline and opened up about an ongoing problem.

“It really helped me understand, and Jordan and I have become good friends,” Rodriguez said.

Faculty advisor Charlene McKowen said that because Driver had more questions at the end of the project than she did at the start, she knew it was an important learning experience.

“Jordan was wonderful to work with, she really took on the work,” McKowen said.

Anzar’s Grad-X project was just the beginning of a road to discovery and exploration. Driver says she is now interested in continuing her education in this field and hopes some day to practice art therapy.


Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.