New Art Teacher Erica Gavzy Creates Fun Environment


photo courtesy of Erica Gavzy

Art teacher Erica Gavzy with her best friend, Bill.

Nick Holt, Editor-in-Chief

It’s very unorthodox to experience such a relaxed, calm, and fun environment inside school walls.  In today’s school life, between due dates, COVID-19, and extra-curricular activities, the stress produced from education is at an all time high.  Though, in art teacher Erica Gavzy’s class, there is a noticeable change in circumstances as soon as you walk into Room 124.

Attending Montgomery High School, Gavzy isn’t too far from her roots, but the path taken from a student at Montgomery High School to a teacher at Hillsborough High School was not linear.

Out of high school, Gavzy chose to attend the Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn, New York, with aspirations to be an artist.  During her junior year at Pratt, Gavzy felt she truly hadn’t learned anything, deciding to forego the remainder of her learning at Pratt.

At just about the same time, The Florence Academy of Art announced the opening of their first United States branch, located just outside of New York City.

Gavzy applied, and was admitted, becoming apart of the first graduating class of the Florence Academy of Art’s US branch.

Though, what to do after graduating was still very much in question for the talented artist, Gavzy ultimately ended up at The College of New Jersey.

During her tenure at TCNJ, Gavzy began to work as a group counselor at an inpatient psychiatric hospital.  Her experiences led her to a feeling of fulfillment, and she sought to channel this enthusiasm into teaching.

Due to the emergence of COVID-19, Gavzy was unable to experience student teaching in person, missing out  a crucial part of the development of a modern day teacher.  Gavzy prevailed, earning herself a job as one of the art teachers here at Hillsborough High School.

As a teacher, one of Gavzy’s best qualities is that she’s a human.  She is extremely personable, sharing various situations in her own career in art and being relatable with the students who are creating art.  Gavzy has made a commitment to complete every project along with the class, if the class is working on a micron pen drawing, so is she. Aself portrait? She creates right along with the class.

It’s an extremely level environment, while there’s an established boundary between student and teacher, Gavzy makes it feel as if everyone is on the same plane.  It’s almost like everyone is in the same squad, or team, as Gavzy refers to the class every day. She punctuates every direction with an emphatic, “Go Team!”

Gavzy’s story can’t be completed without reference to her best friend, Bill.  Bill has a personality, and came into Gavzy’s life one October around Halloween.  “He’s my bud,” Gavzy said. “He’s going to be a pirate for Halloween this year.”  By the way, in case you were wondering, Bill is a cat, but please don’t tell that to Gavzy. She referred to him as a person in this interview and I would like to keep my grade in her class.

All jokes aside, it’s not easy to make high school students feel comfortable in a stressful learning environment, but Ms. Gavzy is able to make it happen.  Hillsborough High School got itself a very good teacher.