Education is a powerful tool that can truly change the trajectory of someone’s life. Coming to glass later in life, after switching careers, I went through some difficulties in my early years in glass. I wish I had the guidance to point me toward scholarships and educational opportunities that could have had a positive impact on my transition to glass. As we look at youth today, and the continued focus on a more traditional system of learning, maintaining art programs and supplying scholarships become even more important. For students that don’t fit into the structure of a more traditional career path, it is critical that they receive the support they need to be successful in a field with perhaps less certainty. I will always remember teaching a one day workshop, where a mother came in with 3 children. She wanted to speak to me before the class and “warn me” that 2 of her children were fast learners and did very well in school, while the 3rd child struggled and would probably need extra help. Needless to say, by the end of the day, the child she was worried about, was the one that excelled the most out of all the students in the class, and was actually extremely gifted. As this child was flameworking his final piece, he looked up with a huge smile on his face, and asked if he could come work for me some day. It took just one day, and one class, for this transformation to happen. It really resonated deeply with me, and illustrates the importance of taking children out of a typical learning environment, to discover strengths they didn’t know they had, and career paths they had never considered.
The scholarships that GLANC offers for graduates of the Palo Alto High School program, gives support to students as they are starting the next phase of their life. This financial support is critical, in giving them the resources they need for equipment or further workshops, to develop their craft. We really thank you, the members of GLANC, for continuing to donate to the scholarship fund, and allowing us to continue this support of youth. Knowledge has power, and financial support ensures that students feel empowered, to take on a career in art - wherever it may lead!
Best, Demetra Theofanous President, Glass Alliance of Northern California