There’s nothing teachers love more than seeing students discover and develop their unique gifts. At Eastern Christian School, creativity abounds; no one could know that better than our very own Jesse Wright. Mr. Wright has been teaching art, as well as web and technology courses, for seven years — years he describes as dynamic and encouraging. While teaching everything from sculpting to web design, he has seen students blossom into creative and artistic thinkers, skills he believes are vital for success in the 21st century, and beyond.
We sat down with Mr. Wright to learn a little more about his day-to-day life and what motivates him to impact students’ lives.
Mr. Wright, we know you have a broad range of creative skills. Tell us, what specifically do you teach at Eastern Christian?
I teach courses in graphic design, web design, design tech, painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and advanced art portfolio (AP). Additionally, I am a sponsor for student filmmaking and large art projects, and an advocate, teacher, and project mentor for our STEAM program.
What inspired you to become an art teacher?
I’m half Jamaican, so allow me to share the phrase “ever since” with you. What this means is, if you have become something, you have been working towards it throughout your life…perhaps even through times when it didn’t seem obvious. I believe the strong creative teachers I was exposed to inspired me initially. After working in missions, I gained a deeper calling to pass on skills beneficial to others. These experiences inspired me to find my place at EC, but I assure you, the students here inspire me as well.
Tell us a little about your days on campus here.
Each day begins in anticipation of the unexpected and awesome ways that some student(s) will take hold of their unique gifting to create something great. Thankfully, I teach a balance of art and tech classes, so there’s a diverse range of learning opportunities to explore. That keeps things interesting and energizing for myself, as well as the students.
How are you involved in the student filmmaking program?
Beyond having a set of exceptionally talented students at ECS, we are blessed with SOAR period — a block of time four days of the week that can be dedicated to special interests and enrichment. These diverse mini-classes are frequently student led and teacher sponsored. Here, the Boiler Room Bombers were born — a group named after the room we were originally given to create our films. This group has yielded several award winning films at the local Passaic County Film Festival. “Discover, Learn, Live” took top honors in 2015. Have a look!
How are your students making a difference through their crafts?
The filmmaking group, for example, has addressed essential issues like bullying and projects in the missions field. In fact, one film led to several students traveling to Uganda to serve in a former displacement camp. That film is titled “Art For Hope – UGANDA” and can also be found here. The mantra has become “go hard or go home” and students are becoming highly proficient in several industry-standard tools and techniques. Not to mention we have a lot of fun!
What place do you think arts education has in the 21st century?
Creative and artistic thought is always in season. Our students have access to tools and applications that place them in the same arena as professionals. They can innovate on that level. They can problem solve on that level. They can express on that level. They can explore on that level. They have the responsibility of being diligently observant as to make the most of their creations. This helps them think outside the box, distinguish themselves, and transform the world for the better.
In closing, what are your greatest hopes for your students?
Simply, that students would recognize and take hold of the gift that God has blessed them — that they would recognize the need to use that gift for the purpose for which they’ve received it, and that they would have the opportunity to do so.
Discover More about Eastern Christian School
There is no shortage of creative opportunities on our campus. If you would like to learn more about the cutting-edge programs and passionate teachers at Eastern Christian School, we hope you’ll take advantage of our student shadow opportunity soon! This gives your child the chance to explore all our learning community has to offer alongside a current student in his or her grade.