Students show appreciation with hand drawn portraits


Emilie Reid

Staff members Tim Vaughn (left) and Rosa Leptich (right) stand and admire the hand drawn works of the “Gratitude Gallery.”

Emilie Reid, Arts and Entertainment

Teacher appreciation seems to become less of a big deal as we get older, with students becoming less obligated to let them know how much they mean to them. We get lost in our work or our social lives, and this results in us overlooking how much our teachers do for us.

This year, however, the art program is striving to change that.

Now hanging in the back hallway of the 400 building, a giant collage of hand-drawn portraits of the staff on campus showcases the individual talent of students along with the thoughtfulness of an art lover.   

Dena Davis, art teacher, was inspired after seeing a video online about another art teacher who had her elementary class draw portraits of the teachers at their school.

“I saw another teacher online who is really awesome and amazing do something like this and I wanted to try it with my students and tie it into gratitude and maybe teacher appreciation week and go from there,” Davis said.

She didn’t just stop at the teachers, though. Davis made sure to try and include every staff member on campus, from administration to the lunch ladies students see once a day.

Each and every art student was assigned one or two people to draw, and the process took a little over a month. The artists ranged from her special needs students to her AP class, and each portrait shows the different skill level each student possesses.

Evelyn Noreen, junior, is in the Intro to Art class and created two portraits, including that of Melanie Britton, band director, and one of the special education teachers.

Along with showing appreciation, the art program hopes to show that art is more than just a regular class, and encourage more people to join.

“Most of the people in my class are just in it for the art credit, so I hope that people will stop looking at art class as just something to do if you need a credit because I personally really like art, and I don’t see it that way, so I hope people start to see it the way I do,” Noreen said.

Aside from running her art program and encouraging kids to make beautiful and unique art pieces, Davis also hosts classes during Eagle Hour.

During these classes kids have written Valentines cards for kids in hospitals and began to extend outside of campus with their creativity.

“Mrs. Davis is really thoughtful with the things that she does, so projects like this may not occur again soon at this school but we are reaching out,” Noreen said.