The Artist: Michaela Bieda

June 23, 2015

By Rebecca Navon, Staff Writer

Shalhevet may be a four-year high school, but senior Michaela Bieda has just completed her ninth year.  That’s because there used to be a Shalhevet middle school and an elementary school, and Michaela attended them all.

She joined the Shalhevet community in third grade, and it turns out that her first impressions have lasted.  Dubbed “Smallhevet” by the Boiling Point at the time, Shalhevet Elementary was, Michaela said, “unique with so much spirit.”

“It had is the same close community and family atmosphere as now,” said Michaela. “But it became more structured and more Modern Orthodox than across the spectrum than it was.”

She looks back upon middle school as her most enjoyable of her years, because there was no academic pressure or competition.  High school, she said, was more of a growth experience.

“High school has changed my way of thinking,” she said. “It has shown me who and what I want to surround myself with. I love the closeness and dedication that is shown in my grade.”

What’s tied all these years together for Michaela has been her talent for art.  She started taking art classes in the fourth grade with Roen Salem, who has taught every grade, and throughout middle and high school she developed her considerable artistic skills.

Michaela drew palm trees for The Boiling Point, and in AP art focused on her favorite type of art — mixed media, using multiple materials like crushed shells, tissue paper and beads in a single piece.

Although she does not want to be an artist, Michaela enjoys the imagination that art involves.

“AP art allowed me to let my creative ideas out, express myself without words and get my mind off of things,” she said in an interview. “Usually a social situation or a decision I needed to make.”

In addition to being at Shalhevet more than most of her fellow graduates, Michaela also faced an unusual challenge. During the first half of her senior year, her mother – PE coach Ms. Raelyn Bieda —  was not well.  Michaela drove her siblings, ran errands for her mother, and pitched in with a lot of chores and responsibilities.

“She worked really, really hard,” said Coach Rae. “I’m very proud of her.”

Ms. Salem said her success combined the best of Michaela’s dedication and her talent.

“She had tons of absences but she was seriously working at home and finished everything for her concentration on time — that was a big success,” explained Roen. “She had a lot of self-driven talent, and her concentration showed unity.”

Michaela plans on attending the University of Arizona next fall to study psychology and science.

“The school gives great opportunities for my major and it’s close to home,” Michaela said.

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