Then sophomores and now juniors from Trenton Central High School, Alma Batista and Rukiyat Daranijo, were selected among their peers at Princeton ArcPrep to participate in a School of Visual Arts in New York City summer pre-college program, which brought students to New York City for an immersive learning experience.

The students, who lived for three weeks in NYC’s Flat Iron District, were taught by the same faculty who teach at the School of Visual Arts. Dr. Carol Bentel, chair, BFA Interior Design Department at School of Visual Arts, explained how much the students worked at the program. “Alma and Rukiyat were two amazing sparks of creativity in our NYC SVA Interior Design: Built Environments department last summer. Both high school students worked with passion and rigor, which was so evident in their excellent design solutions. They set the bar high! We thank them for their energy, camaraderie, and community spirit. They were just terrific!”

The pre-college program is designed for high school students who want to enhance their creative skills, learn more about a particular field of art, and develop a portfolio.  The two students received three credits for the successful completion of the summer program.

Alma Batista and Rukiyat Daranijo. Photo Provided by Alma Batista and Rukiyat Daranijo

“They [the students] received scholarships from the SVA and through the generous support of the Trenton Public Education… Ellen Mushinski and Frank Petrino did an amazing job in getting the funds together in a very short time to make it happen,” said  Jorge Orozco Gonzalez, Architectural Design Fellow of the Princeton University School of Architecture. 

Batista explained that ArcPrep more then prepared them for the class. She talked about how ArcPrep taught her the tools that she would use during the class. “Students were wondering oh, what is this and (the professors) had to teach it all over again. And (Daranijo and I) were like oh, we already got this, we have experience doing this,” Batista said. 

In Fall 2018, Princeton School of Architecture, in collaboration with Trenton Central High School, launched Princeton ArcPrep to introduce Trenton high school students in their Sophomore year to the discipline of architecture through an immersive, semester-long course on architecture, urbanism, and integrated design studio practices. Unlike other architecture high school programs, ArcPrep’s studio instruction is not an extra-curricular activity; it’s embedded within the high school curriculum and the daily schedule of participating students.