Southmoreland High School art teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Goodman has made it her passion throughout the years to make her classroom a free and creative space for students.
As a young girl, Mrs. Goodman’s grandmother lived with her, opening her to the world of fine arts. She recalls coloring with her and pretending to be a teacher. Interestingly, Mrs. Goodman’s artistic background extends to her father, who was the lead guitarist in 60’s band Tommy James and the Shondells. Growing up in a musical family, she took on playing the piano, and accompanied the choir. When she reached junior year of high school, she found that she was talented in visual arts.
“My art teacher pushed me to further my art experience” Mrs. Goodman said. She knew she wanted to be an art teacher.
She describes art as “an outlet for students.” She explained that after she attended St. Vincent for art education, she ended up back at Southmoreland as a student teacher for the former art teacher. Eventually, she would succeed this position.
Through classes and art council, a club based around students participating in community art projects, she was able to build a strong connection with the students.
“I enjoy getting to know them. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never judge a book by it’s cover. Every student has a story,” Mrs. Goodman said.
Just last year, Mrs. Goodman came up with a new way to display students’ artwork in the high school with help from the art council. One evening after school hours, the community was allowed to come into the building to experience the works that were produced throughout the year in art class.
“I wanted to showcase awesome work that students do as an open art exhibit,” Mrs. Goodman said.
The community was generous and made donations that made the art exhibit possible. Mrs. Goodman said that it was a great way to “build students’ confidence,” and she plans on bringing the art exhibit back this year and hopefully, for many years to come.
“It’s important to continue letting students express themselves through art and build their confidence by displaying it for the community to see,” Mrs. Goodman said.
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