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Silverado High School graduate recognized for perfect AP exam score

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Avery Rodriguez, a budding young artist, and Silverado High School graduate, has been recognized for an exceedingly rare perfect score on the AP Drawing Exam.

CollegeBoard (which administers the AP tests) recently released the names of perfect scorers on the 2022 exams, and Rodriguez was one of just 343 students worldwide to earn every point possible on the test. With approximately 19,000 students taking the test, Rodriguez’s score puts her in the top 2 percent.

“A perfect score is almost unheard of,” Silverado Principal Heather Conkle said. “We’re extremely proud of Avery.”

(In this painting that she submitted as part of her AP portfolio, Silverado graduate Avery Rodriguez says she was trying to draw attention to the fact that Native Americans were often forced to pick cotton. Her portfolio, which explores Native American issues, was awarded a rare perfect score.)

Rodriguez, 18, is now a freshman at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Her stunning AP portfolio focuses on the issues faced by Native American communities, particularly in Arizona where Avery’s great grandmother was a member of the Pima tribe.

“It’s about our heritage of Native American life and how we struggled through it,” Rodriguez said. “Every portrait was someone that was related to me.”

The work shows her mastery of different techniques including oil and acrylic painting, sketching, lettering, watercolor and much more, using a wide variety of materials. Rodriguez said she learned these varied techniques mostly on her own, with some inspiration from her father, a graphic designer. She also credits Silverado art teacher Michelle Blum and photography teacher Shelly Sears with giving her “a lot of inspiration these past two years” and helping her develop her portfolios, including her 2021 AP design portfolio that also received a perfect score. 

(Silverado graduate Avery Rodriguez works at her home art studio in Victorville. Rodriguez was recently honored for a rare perfect score on the AP Drawing Exam.)

“Her work is really amazing,” said Blum, who retired from Silverado after last school year. “She got a (perfect score) because she just would not settle. She wanted it to be the best. We just coached her; we never pushed her. We just let her come up with ideas and did a lot of encouraging.”  

Rodriguez is studying business and hopes to open her own art gallery someday. When she was just 13, she started her own business painting custom shoes and portraits, using the funds to purchase supplies and establish her own art studio, which she says is “basically a shed” at her mother’s Victorville home, containing a drafting table and supplies. One of Rodriguez’s paintings was recently featured in the Young Artists County Art Show at Cal State San Bernardino and won first place in the painting category. 

Rodriguez was recognized for her perfect AP test score at a recent meeting of the Victor Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees, where board members and administrators were in awe of the quality of her work.

(Avery Rodriguez, center, poses with custom art pieces she made for Silverado teachers Michelle Blum, left, and Shelly Sears, right, before graduating from Silverado earlier this year. The teachers coached Rodriguez as she created a portfolio that earned a perfect score on the AP Drawing Exam.)

“It’s a tremendous feat to get a perfect score, and Avery’s work clearly shows that she is deserving of that honor,” VVUHSD Superintendent Carl Coles said. “We’d like to congratulate Avery as well as Ms. Blum and Ms. Sears for helping her develop this amazing portfolio. We wish Avery continued success as she pursues her passions in the future.” 

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