It was a day Pamela Collins had looked forward to for each of the last six years at Heritage Collegiate; one where beautiful works of art by her students were presented for the public.
It has long brought Collins great joy and pride, but at this year’s art exhibit and afternoon tea in the gymnasium also brought tears to her eyes.
As students presented at the beginning of the event, they thanked their teacher who fostered all the learning they’ve done in the field this year.
This is Collins’ last exhibit; she is retiring at the end of the school year.
Also an English and Language Arts teacher at the school, Collins teaches kids in the Art and Design 2200 class.
Her message to students: “Whatever you do is yours. Just go with it.”
Students showed their paintings, sketches, photography and more at the event with impressive displays which were creative and lovingly put together.
“(Today is) a reflection of not just their artistic ability but the design elements and everything, kind of like a self-reflection piece.”
While Collins’ retirement is typically a happy milestone, she says if the job were all about these types of events, she’d never retire.
But as always, Collins’ focus on Wednesday, June 5, was on Grade 10 students of the art and design class, art club students, and those who put their own personal time into a special mural in the cafeteria.
“These kids, they reach for the stars, they get them quickly and then they move on,” says Collins with a smile. “They’re an amazing group.”
She says she feels like a mom to the 30-plus students.
“They make me so proud.”
What Collins has done for students was also not lost on them.
They wouldn’t have any impressive pieces of art to show off if it weren’t for Ms. Collins.
Brett Smith, of Lethbridge, was showing his art for the year, including sketches – like a self-portrait – and other paintings.
“It was so much fun, actually,” said Brett.
He says Ms. Collins has helped him so much with everything along the way.
“I couldn’t ask for a better art teacher,” he said. “I (was able) to learn a lot about the techniques from someone who is a great person too.”
Alyssa Oldford is another art and design student.
She told The Packet she feels like she’s improved a lot with art, and learned a lot from Ms. Collins.
“She knows her stuff. She’s taught me so much,” said Alyssa.
Alyssa has done painting, a lot of sketching and edited the photos she’s taken. Her favourite is sketching.
She’s cultivated a worthwhile hobby in both drawing and photography.
“(Ms. Collins) is going to be hard to replace because she knows what she’s at.”