The Ginn Academy, founded in 2007 by Ted Ginn, Sr., is the only all-male public high school in Ohio. Come in and see what goes on inside the hearts and minds of 655 E. 162nd Street each day. Let us tell you our stories. Photos and text not to be used without permission.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting Our Hands Dirty at The Ginn Academy

Judy Rickel, Ginn Academy's art teacher, is on a mission. This tiny fireball of a woman has seen what a small amount of makeshift supplies can do and will not stop until she has a fully-outfitted art room and ceramics studio for her students."They need this and they are thriving. I'm amazed at what they already do with what we have here," she says.

We do not have many electives, so art is a treat for most of the boys. It was added in 2009 when we moved to our current location and had more space. Our students are starting to speak the language as they settle in to this new place outside of their comfort zone. "This is what we are doing in other areas of the curriculum: hands-on, small group collaboration, sharing ideas, movement. Boys need movement!" says Mrs. Hazel Parker, GA's Assistant to the Executive Director. "The art classes have been an opportunity for the boys who didn't know they had creative talent," she explains. "Some have even decided to pursue graphic design in college. This catapults them to levels they didn't know existed for them."

At the beginning of her fourth year at the Academy, Mrs. Rickel, whose father grew up in Glenville, where many of our students live, has begun a feverish push to gather the supplies that she needs for the GA students to really get their hands dirty. With a degree in ceramics, her current passion is pottery, specifically Native American pottery. She has the boys making olla pots (water vessels), seed pots, and story pots. They learn the history behind the objects and hope to eventually be equipped to sell their work. "We can have all sorts of experiences with the business aspect of this: making pots, selling them. How should we market and who is our customer?" explains Mrs. Rickel. "I also have a dream where each student makes a full place setting and then we all sit down to share a meal together. It would be very spiritual."

To get the program rolling, Mrs. Rickel hopes to be able to purchase ten new wheels, a ton of clay (as in 2,000 pounds of clay!), sturdy stainless steel tables, tools (currently brought in from Mrs. Rickel's own supply), secure drying cabinets and shelves for storage. Another kiln is also needed in addition to the one that was kindly provided by the Jewish Federation last year. To accommodate the kilns, some electrical updates are needed. "I'm not going to let it stop us. We make do with what we've got right now," she says.

As for now, our students are benefiting in so many ways from Mrs. Rickel's classes. Some come in early, before school, to work and open studio is each day at lunch time. "It's calming, therapeutic for them," Mrs. Rickel says. "I was looking for something new for these boys and I found something ancient."

Kind regards from all of us and thank you for your interest in our school.