Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Rockford Christian senior draws portraits of fellow graduates

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – What began as a simple sketch turned into a more than three-month art project for a local high school senior.

And it wasn’t an ordinary project. After drawing a portrait of a friend, Bridget Heffner drew another student. Then another; she then decided to sketch the entire Rockford Christian 2018 graduating class, all 135 of them.

What made the project even more special for Bridget is the drawings were not part of an assignment. She loves art, plans to major in it and wanted to do something to memorialize her class.

Only a handful of students knew about the portraits, and neither they or Bridget had trouble keeping the project a secret. Bridget used social-media photos and those from last year’s yearbook to complete each sketch. As an artist who’s done a number of drawings, it seemed routine when he displayed the them in the hall before school started last Friday morning.

“I really didn’t think it was that special (at first),” she said. “But, everyone else thought it was. A lot of the teachers and students were crowded around the portraits. A lot of them were shocked and a few even teared up.”

Heffner said once she decided to draw each class member, it was bit of a race against time. To unveil the project ahead of Rockford Christian’s graduation ceremony, she completed between three and five black-and-white portraits every night in addition to her homework.

“We’re so proud,” father, Rick Heffner, said. For the past three months, she’d come home from school or work or stay home on a Friday and Saturday night and go to her art area and draw.”

Bridget will attend Rock Valley College this fall to complete her general education credits before enrolling in art school. As for the portraits, they’ll be given to each student as mementos as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

“I hope they can keep them and cherish them,” she said.

Rockford Christian Schools graduation ceremony is Tuesday, May 29, at Heartland Community Church. R.

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