By: Joshua Muller
Tustin High was in need of a talented artist who works with clay to take on the role of ceramics teacher. Ysabel Gray, a graduate from Cal State University of Long Beach, came to the rescue and became Tustin High’s new ceramics teacher. Before taking the job at Tustin, Ms. Gray was teaching ceramics at the Lakewood Recreation Center and was a teacher’s assistant at the CSULB ceramics program. Although she never taught at a high school, Ms. Gray wanted to spread her love of ceramics with others and was excited to start teaching the younger generation.
Attending a private high school called South Western Longview, which did not offer a ceramics class, Ms. Gray took a ceramics class at her local junior college. Eventually her love and passion for ceramics would inspire her to become teacher: “I started teaching when I was really young as a swim instructor and I really enjoyed working with students and getting to know them while doing something meaningful and productive.”
“I love the students here and learning from them as they learn from me,” says Ms. Gray as she helps a student carve into their clay tile. The class is full of energy and the students have a lot of freedom creating things with their hands. “She’s really nice and cool and I think her class is really fun,” said Henry Corona as he carves a design into his tile. Students get down and dirty molding and shaping little bricks of clay into functional but beautiful pieces of art.
Ceramics is an art form that requires patience and creativity. Learning these values from someone who has a passion to teach the younger generation makes the class worth getting dirty for.