Philip Sossou, a graduating senior at Boston Latin High School, spent his last months in school a bit differently than most high schoolers. He secretly drew portraits of every single person in his graduating class, totaling 411 original works.
Last week, he surprised his classmates by showing all the portraits in the hallways of the school on the last day of class.
"Our class has been kind of divided," Sossou told the Boston Globe. "Having these pictures helps us to embrace our diversity."
The prestigious Latin School has faced negative news after allegations of racism surfaced. Students also complained that administrators were slow to respond to the use of racial epithets at the school.
“I was trying to show everyone in a positive light,” Sossou said.
He went on to explain that the activity began as an attempt to improve his skills as a charcoal artist but "the whole thing became altruistic." He soon found himself with 50, then 100 portraits and so on until he achieved a portrait for every classmate.
While his incredible artistic act was definitely not something common for your regular 18-year-old, Sossou did use the tools of his generation, including Facebook images and sometimes even taking photos of classmates with his phone, as blueprints for his portraits.
Now a high school graduate, Sossou plans to attend Bunker Hill Community College and then hopes to transfer to University of Massachusetts, Amherst after that.
(Photo: Patrick Hourigan via YouTube.com)
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