Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Spartan Artists

Posted 05/16/2019 by Joe McComb

Each year, TJ students like Reagan Tucker (pictured) create stunning pieces of art. photo by Joe McComb

TJ’s art department produces many fantastic student artists.

Despite being an elective, arts education is incredibly important for many students across the world. It allows students to express creativity, relieve stress, and use their talents. At TJ, students are able to take a variety of different art classes taught by passionate and committed art teachers. Lacye Pannell (formerly Nichols), is a ceramics teacher who teaches levels one through three and a Senior Thesis ceramics class. Pannell is also a practicing ceramicist, which is beneficial for her students to see someone who lives and breathes art. Leonard Fox, another TJ art teacher, has levels one through four of Drawing and Painting and an AP Studio Art class. He has been an educator in Denver Public Schools for 30 years in different capacities, becoming an experienced arts educator over time. Students speak high praises of the art department, especially of Fox and Pannell.

TJ is full of many talented artists that do not receive enough praise for their hard work. One of these talented artists is senior Reagan Tucker. She has been taking ceramics for all four years of high school and is currently in the Senior Thesis class. When Tucker was choosing classes in eighth grade, she explained that she chose to take ceramics to complete her art credits. However, she fell in love with ceramics and has been cultivating her skills in Pannell’s class since her freshman year. For the Senior Thesis class, students must create 18 pieces by the end of the second semester. Tucker’s thesis is revolved around human-caused environmental degradation and her ceramics pieces reflect the pressing global issue. Some of the pieces she has created thus far are about invasive species, sea levels rising, man-caused forest fires, poaching, oil spills, fossil fuel use, carbon footprint, and many others. She credits much of her success in ceramics to Pannell. “Pannell is passionate about ceramics and is able to teach different styles and techniques well. She connects with her students very well to help them reach their potential in ceramics,” noted Tucker. After graduating, she will be attending the University of Colorado-Boulder in the fall and is planning to major in Art Practices.

Senior Monse Robles-Alcala has been taking art with Fox the past four years and is currently enrolled in his AP Studio Art class, only available to seniors. She is extremely passionate about art because it allows her to express herself and relieve stress. Like Tucker, Robles also credits the development of her artistic skills to Fox. He helps students by offering constructive criticism in order to make their art better. Robles explains that she is a better artist because her teacher helps them learn different techniques and shares his passion in the classroom. She specializes in two dimensional drawing and painting. Throughout her time in AP Studio Art, she has been steadily working on her portfolio, which has 24 required pieces of art. The portfolio consists of two different parts of 24 pieces total: the breath and the concentration. The breath is 12 pieces that exemplify her skills in charcoal, watercolor, graphite, and colored pencil. On the other hand, the concentration is also 12 pieces that represent her family and culture, which shows the transformation in the person who she has become. Her drawings have depicted different people, landscapes, flowers, buildings, and animals. Robles is planning to double major in Mechatronic Engineering and Innovation & Design Engineering at La Universidad Panamericana campus in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Freshman Eliana Luna is finishing up her year enrolled in Fox’s Drawing and Painting 1 class. She has always enjoyed art class in school, which led her to continue her arts education at TJ. Art is relaxing and allows her to express creativity each school day in the classroom. Luna also mentioned how Fox is a great teacher and has led her to become a better artist in general. In class, most of her pieces have been drawn in pencil and two were painted. She explained that her favorite piece was a fish she recently created. She plans on taking art at TJ in the future and hopes to reach AP Studio Art once she is a senior.

TJ’s student artists are incredibly talented and passionate people who strive for the best. With the support of dedicated art teachers, these Spartans are creating beautiful pieces to express themselves and prove their skills. TJ is full of captivating student artists, specializing in ceramics, drawing, and painting. Art from TJ students has not only been displayed at school, but in the community as well. Student artists are using their skills to make the world a bit less dim and more creative, little by little. Congratulations to all TJ student artists for their hard work over the years.