Ceramics Program Raises $5,300 in Donations


Claire Stafford

Jessica Garcia (11) throws a pot in ceramics class. Activities like this are made possible by the success of the ceramics fundraiser.

Lexi Odekirk, Staff Writer

At the start of the school year, the SJHHS Ceramics program was severely underfunded, lacking materials like clay, glaze, hand tools, and special paints. Ceramics teacher Robin Serr decided to take matters into her own hands, and held two fundraisers this past year. Serr received a whopping $5,300 in donations, $500 above her goal. 

“It’s been great, I’ve had plenty of money to get them all the clay that they need, so we’ve been able to have a true workshop environment,” said Serr. 

Although the class is centered around creating projects, tests are given each semester to assess students’ knowledge of the several different pottery terms they have learned. Without additional funding, Serr worried that the class would become more academic, utilizing worksheets and textbooks over their typical art supplies. 

“We never have homework except for the fundraiser, a sheet they go home and get signed by their parents so they can know when it’s going on, we take tests on vocab on things we need to, and there are three quizzes a semester, “ said Serr.

The AP ceramics class is a more laid-back class, where students are given time to complete their different projects and express their creativity. 

“Our class is very chill. Mrs. Serr does a good job letting us work freely, while also making sure we are on top of things and always being productive. We learn a lot of different techniques with the clay and we have very simple instructions, and then she lets us go from there,” said senior Lola McDonough.

Students refer to the class as a calming reset during their school day. 

I love that this class provides a safe place for creativity. Even if you’re not very artistically inclined you’ll have fun creating a sculpture that you’ll be able to say you made

— Maia Garcia

“I like ceramics because it’s very engaging. I like having the combination of painting as well as using your hands to mold things. We usually have multiple projects to work on at a time so if you get bored of one thing you can move on to the other. I find the class very stress relieving. I get to work on fun projects, listen to music, and talk to friends. I would definitely say it is my favorite part of the school day,” said McDonough.

There is a long process that goes into creating just one piece. Some of these steps include sculpting, firing, and glazing. The first firing, a process that sets the clay, can take anywhere from eight to ten hours. Every piece must be fired at least twice, in order to both set the clay and create the glazed effect. 

“First we make the basic structure of the project, like a hallowed ball for the whistle, or a tall box for the slab vase. Then I think of things that I like that I could incorporate into the project. If nothing comes to mind, then I resort to looking up inspiration online. Once you have the idea down, you just start working on adding the larger items first and doing the smaller details later. Then you have to clean it up and make sure everything is smooth. The clay gets fired, and we paint,” said McDonough.

Fine arts classes around the U.S., including ceramics, painting and drawing are experiencing limited funding and budget cuts. Recently, Proposition 28 was passed, which will provide about $1 billion each year to support arts programs in California public schools. To raise more money, many classes are hosting fundraisers to help raise money for their programs. 

Despite all this, thanks to the profound support of the community, the ceramics class will now be able to use the money they raised on new supplies needed for their creative process.

“I love that this class provides a safe place for creativity. Even if you’re not very artistically inclined you’ll have fun creating a sculpture that you’ll be able to say you made,” said senior Maia Garcia.