When summer ends, Ashlynn Dobbs will go back to Palmetto High School for her senior year. Dobbs can look forward to a year of accomplishment and some trepidation as she applies for admission to various colleges.
This year, Dobbs received the school’s award for being the Outstanding Junior Art Student.
She previously received a similar award as the Outstanding Freshman Art Student when she was in the ninth grade. In her junior year, Dobbs took portfolio art as a class. In the fall, she will move up to Advanced Placement Art.
“I mostly use acrylic paint, and sometimes I use regular pencil or color pencil,” she says.
“Lately I’ve been working with mostly acrylic. It’s pretty realistic. Sometimes I have surrealistic things. Not realistic subjects, but I make them realistic. In the last piece I did, I showed the relationship between nature and human. A hand caressing a face, but it was green, like Mother Nature.”
Although she loves art, she is not planning to major in art in college.
“I plan to take a class and possibly minor in art; but I want to get into environmental science or environmental law,” she says.
Nature and art are two of her favorite subjects. To help the environment, Dobbs is president of the Ecology Club. This past year, club members volunteered at events such as beach clean-ups at Deering Estate and Crandon Park, and she expects they will do even more next year.
“Next year, I plan on forming relationships with people who have contacted us,” she says.
While groups will often participate in large beach cleanups along with hundreds of volunteers, the Palmetto Ecology Club did their Crandon cleanup on their own.
“For the beach, we chose a popular section that we know everyone goes to,” she says. “For Deering, they took us to certain spots that were the most littered.”
The club also took part in Palmetto’s Plant the Pride event, which helps beautify the school.
They also made turkeys out of recycled materials and gave them to teachers as a thank you gift.
“We cut the water bottles and constructed them,” she says. “They were cute. They had chocolate on them, too. The teachers liked it.”
Next year, Dobbs plans to have more cleanups and a project to beautify the school. She also hopes to keep the school informed of green initiatives and environmental news.
Recently, Dobbs attended the Environmental Immersion Day at Fairchild Tropical Garden.
This summer she will intern in the Florida International University agro ecology program.
She also put together a community service project to help teens who age out of the foster care system when they turn 18. Those teens suddenly have to face life on their own.
“They don’t have all the necessities, like pots and pans and kitchen things,” she says. “I’m going to collect those things from businesses.” Dobbs says it’s a shock for the teens when they realize what they need to survive in the world alone.
“My mom is the one who gave the idea to me; I had never thought about it,” she says. “I got together a list of company names and I plan to ask them for basic things, those things you need to survive.”
She planned to start work on the project as soon as classes ended.
Along with the Ecology Club, Dobbs is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society. She also has been on Palmetto’s varsity lacrosse team for three years.
“The last two years we’ve been in a slump,” she says. “But this year we finished in second place in the districts.”
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld