Tonawanda News — That leaves three teachers for high school, 1.5 for middle school and just two for elementary. Holler said she and the other elementary art teacher split up their week among the district’s four elementary schools, adding that she teaches close to 700 students alone in the span of six days. Seven-hundred students, for one teacher. Think about that.
As a result, courses have been reduced, she explained. In most cases, introductory painting, drawing or ceramics classes are still being offered, but perhaps not the more advanced classes that many high schoolers might need to be more competitive at the collegiate level.
“We want to move them along but they can only get to a certain point,” Holler said. “I want to hear from my students in college and I want to hear them say ‘I’ve done this or done that’ — whether it’s culinary arts, whether it’s writing, whether it’s the visual arts — and that they’re proud of what they’ve moved onto and that maybe we’ve planted the first seed. That’s what we’re there for, to plant the seed to grow.”
She wants to get a phone call like the one former NT high school art teacher Cindi O’Mara got recently from one of her students, Natalie Brown. Two months ago Brown, who is 24 years old, opened an art gallery, Project 308, on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda.
The article you’ll read adjoined to this column details how the latest show at the gallery, “Must be Something in the Water: An N.T. Collection,” features 14 artists from North Tonawanda, most of whom took the same classes from O’Mara six, seven, eight years ago before major budget reductions forced the cuts of some of those classes. Three pieces by O’Mara — one of the teachers who retired and was never replaced — are also featured in the show.