Beloved art teacher to retire in fall

Commentary by Briona Kiser
Times-News correspondent

Lover of seashells, hot sauce and reggae music, Western Alamance High School’s own Elizabeth Wertz is saying goodbye to her nearly 30 years as an art teacher. After instructing beginner, intermediate, advanced and Advanced Placement (AP) art students, Wertz has learned, experienced and accomplished loads.

Wertz has taught at Western for nearly 20 years and has taught a variety of classes and talented students. Every year, she enters multiple students’ pieces in the Scholastic Art Competition. Through this competition, students may win a variety of awards, such as Gold or Silver Keys, awarded to an individual piece, or Gold or Silver Portfolios, awarded to a group of eight pieces, all of which are nationally recognized.

Under Wertz’s instruction, it is estimated her students have won 150 Gold Keys (18 of which were awarded in 2014) and 10 Gold Portfolios, as well as three National American Vision Gold awards in a row, along with many other assorted awards. In addition, Wertz received her AP credentials in the summer of 2012 to teach AP Studio Art Drawing and 2D-Design, finally opening AP courses to the upper level art students.

Throughout her 30 years, Wertz has taught at multiple elementary and high schools in Alamance County, including Williams High School, from which she graduated. Being a lifelong local, Wertz plans to stay in Burlington following her retirement in September of this year, but will always pursue art, of course. She is in the process of creating her own home gallery and is excited to continue her art career outside of the classroom. As is evident to every student Wertz has taught, she genuinely enjoys being a part of her students’ lives. She encourages them to invest their personal lives, emotions and personality into their work and gives guidance or assistance whenever asked.

As her teaching career comes to an end, I already know the memories and friendships she has made with many students, myself included, will live on forever. Thank you, Mrs. Wertz, for everything you have done for us, and you will always be in our hearts.

Briona Kiser is a senior at Western Alamance High School and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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