Reliving the Magic
Ten years ago Melissa Glosmanova returned to the high school that changed her life as a teenager and began teaching. She calls A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts a “magical place.”
“The teachers here truly care about their students, not just helping them make art but helping them through high school, adolescence…and coming here and making art every day was medicinal, it was necessary, it was magical on some levels.”
Her return to Dreyfoos eight years after graduating was pure circumstance. She had attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and was working at an animation studio when she met her husband who worked in West Palm Beach and she was beckoned home. Still in touch with the Dreyfoos community, Melissa ran into visual arts teacher Peter Stodolak at a retirement party. “He asked me to come in and teach a class in animation or drawing. I kind of thought I’d be here a year and here I am 10 years later.”
First as an artist in residence and eventually as a full-time teacher, Melissa has been reliving the magic of her own high school years. “Every year is a new wave of students, it’s a new essence, a new aura, it’s a new magic every year.” She also appreciates modern advancements at the school. “The room where I now teach, which is full of 30 computers, was a drawing room. There were no computers with Photoshop and access to it wasn’t mainstream yet.”
Melissa’s favorite part of teaching comes when students take ownership in their artwork. “I love seeing students learn something, grasp it, get excited about it and then turn it into something that’s their own.” Sixteen Dreyfoos students will exercise that talent on March 10, by participating in the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) Florida East Coast Chapter’s High School Photography Program Master Class and Exhibition. In its third year, the program is designed to showcase student photography and expose young artists to nationally acclaimed photographers, who serve as judges.
Students will compete for Overall Best in Show, Best in Show (at each school) and eight other monetary award categories. The other participating schools are Boca Raton Community High School, Jupiter Community High School and Pembroke Pines Charter High School. Melissa considers the exhibition a rare opportunity for students. “I’m very excited to see how the students have edited their work down and chosen pieces they’d like everyone else to see. That’s a big part of being an artist.”
She also welcomes the exposure NSAL’s photography program means for students. The exhibition is being held again at Florida Atlantic University’s Theatre Lab in Boca Raton and will remain on display until March 23. “It means the world to the kids, having their work at a college campus where older students and professionals are going to get to see it.”
Witnessing a student’s success is one of the most important aspects of teaching for Melissa. “Just seeing them happy about something they did or feeling a sense of accomplishment and that translating later on to their portfolios…and beyond that a sense of self importance and happiness.”
To say Melissa can relate, would be an understatement. “Seeing that I experienced that when I was a student… and then seeing it happen again with someone else is a huge payoff, it makes it all worth it.”
It all sounds pretty magical.
F – French fries or tater tots? French Fries
R – Right brained or left brained? Left Brained
E – Email or carrier pigeon? Carrier Pigeon
S – Sunshine or moonlight? Moonlight
H – Homebody or party animal? Homebody