Thinking back was there a teacher who had a great influence on you?
(on today’s slip of paper drawn from the jar)
Senior year in high school, just a few required classes to graduate, time to pick a few electives to fill the time. A new choice this year, Art class was being offered for the first time, to be held in one of the old Home Ec rooms.
The class quickly filled with seniors and we soon found out that it was different from any class we had taken before. The teacher was young Kathy Curtacci, fresh out of college, full of great ideas and plans.
I remember one of our first assignments was to go out into the parking lot (we actually got to leave the classroom – another first!) to attempt a pencil drawing of a motorcycle parked there. Most of us didn’t have a clue about drawing or art, and I am sure those drawings reflected that inexperience.
Drawing was just the tip of the iceberg, just getting our feet wet. Over the course of the year, we painted, carved linoleum blocks for printing (which Ms. Curtacci used to make her own Christmas cards to send out that year), made pottery creations which we glazed and fired in a kiln, made paper mache.
My favorite was by far – tie dye!
You have to keep in mind, this was 1971, the hippie movement was still lingering on. She told us see if our fathers would let us have an OLD t-shirt for this project. She showed us how to apply the rubber bands to make patterns, use different colors of dye.
We were so proud of those shirts!
I have used tie dye again and again over the years – at a Girl Scout event we set up the dye for the different levels – blue for the daisies, orange for the brownies, green for the juniors. When grandson Kyle became a football player, Melissa and I had purple (team colors) tie dyed t-shirts to wear to the game, and just recently at a birthday party next door, 13-year-olds got to tie dye their own shirts to take home. One of the girls was overhead saying – did your mother used to be a hippie?
During the course of our senior year, young Ms. Curtacci and Coach Thompson fell in love and were later married. She went on to become Dr. Thompson, local artist and teacher. She still teaches art classes at the local Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association.
I saw her a couple of years ago at Arts in the Park, I told her that I was in her first class at West Fannin High – and she said, “I remember you – you married Kay’s brother and were going camping on your honeymoon to Colorado!”
As far as answering the question about a teacher having a great influence on you, maybe I should have picked Mr. Hellerstedt who taught us algebra, or the countless teachers who tried to make us appreciate literature and science, but the only one that stands out in my mind is Kathy Curtacci, Art Teacher!