Shayna Bloom was at her job last August when she learned from her mother, Kristin Bloom, the good news that the 16-year-old had just fulfilled all the requirements to graduate high school. The unconventional announcement was perfectly normal for the formerly homeschooled Severna Park teen who entered Anne Arundel Community College at age 14 and is set to receive her two-year degree this May.
“When I was 14 years old, I wanted to take classes at AACC. I didn’t think I would test into credit classes, so I was really surprised to learn that I scored high enough to officially enroll,” Shayna said.
For two years, Shayna was dually enrolled in high school and college, and she still found time to work at Einstein Bros. Bagels in Severna Park and perform in local theater groups.
Shayna’s first class at AACC was an English class. She remembers the professor posed a question to the class on the first day.
“She said, ‘What are you most nervous about?’ in reference to starting college,” Shayna recalled. “When it was my turn, I said, ‘I’m 14 years old. That should be self-explanatory!’”
Thanks to her mom, Shayna learned to love learning from a young age. Kristin, a former Montgomery County special education teacher, made sure Shayna’s education included many field trips and hands-on experiences. Instead of reading about Renaissance art, Kristin took Shayna to museums to experience Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and others. Instead of reading William Shakespeare, Kristin took Shayna to theater productions.
“My mom is a fantastic teacher for me and my sister,” Shayna said. “Learning was and always will be an adventure.”
Before she graduates from AACC this May, Shayna will play Lady Capulet in the college’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” from April 12–14, and April 19-20. Also, she is a member of the college’s Coalition for Christian Outreach.
“Shakespeare’s words need movement; they need to be acted out,” she added.
Shayna plans to attend the University of Maryland, College Park, in the fall and study English with an emphasis on creative writing for the stage and screen. She plans to pursue a postgraduate degree in London, a city she fell in love with when she was just 6 years old and read about the magical United Kingdom city, and then again last year after completing a summer program at the University of Oxford in England.
Her dream job would be writing for “Doctor Who,” a British science fiction television program produced by the BBC since 1963, or perhaps writing and acting in her own show.
“I love how science fiction and fantasy toy with ethical questions,” Shayna said. “I am a total Sci-Fi nerd.”
For more information on Theatre at AACC’s spring production of “Romeo and Juliet,” including show times and ticket information, visit www.aacc.edu and view the performing arts calendar.