Brushing Her Way to Success: Mary Elle Palma Accepted into Prestigious Governor’s Honors Program in Art


Kristen Duncan

GHP Bound: Junior Mary Elle Palma achieved a big feat by being named to the prestigious Governor’s honors Program. She will be attending the program at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro this summer.

Of the 3,200 nominees vying for a spot in the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, a mere 20 percent make the cut. North Atlanta junior Mary Elle Palma proved herself to be one of those exceptional few, securing a highly coveted spot in the prestigious summer program for art. 
The Governor’s Honors Program, known as GHP, is a rigorous and highly selective summer program designed for gifted and talented high school students across Georgia. This year the program will be held at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. Its six-week curriculum provides participants with a stimulating and intensive learning experience in various fields, including art, music, math and science. The aim of the program is to cultivate a challenging and immersive environment where students can hone their skills and excel in their respective areas of expertise. For Palma, inclusion in the program will mean developing her artistic skills among some of the best teachers and most talented art students the state’s school’s produce. “When I first saw that I was accepted into the program, I didn’t believe it,” Palma said. “I had to keep refreshing the page because it was so surreal.” 
Palma’s passion for art has been evident since she was a child. She has spent countless hours fine-tuning her craft and mastering her creative skills. Palma enjoys working with oil-based paints as well as watercolors, and her work is characterized by a unique blend of vivid colors, intricate patterns, and attention to detail. Palma, a 21st Century Generation Z artist established a perhaps curious fact, specifically that she’s drawn particular artistic inspiration from Sandro Botticelli, the early-Reniassance Italian painter who famously depicted Dante’s “Inferno.” “For AP Art we have to do a sustained investigation and mine is a modern interpretation of Dante’s Inferno,” Palma said.
Palma’s future aspirations are just as impressive as her current accomplishments. She envisions herself pursuing a career in psychiatry, specializing in art therapy. Given the amount of time Palma devotes to art, she is on track to making this dream become a reality. “I spend anywhere from 15 minutes to six hours a day working on art,” she said. 
Prior to coming to North Atlanta, Palma was a student at (?). Despite the fact that she is new to North Atlanta this year, her teachers have already recognized she’s one of the school’s most prolific artistic talents. Palma’s GHP nomination was under art teacher Alison Sheppard who has taught Palma in AP Art. Sheppard said Palma’s skills have become significantly noteworthy and that her body of work stands up to any of the great North Atlanta artistic greats. “Mary Elle is truly amazing. She has embraced the art studio and blossomed in a very short time,” said Sheppard.   
Mary Elle Palma’s story is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance. Her inspiring journey serves as a model for young students striving for excellence in their chosen fields. She has shown that with hard work, dedication, and a passion for what you do, anything is possible.