Eighth grade art students at Melissa Middle School recently completed a portrait project to celebrate 10 of their most impactful teachers.

Art teacher Monica Noel asked her students to name one teacher on campus who had positively impacted them. After Noel photographed the teachers – not telling them why – her students began drawing enlarged greyscale portraits using only graphite pencils.

Once finished, each portrait was added to the school’s main hallway display as a surprise for the teachers.

“We really wanted to do something nice for the teachers because they do so much for us,” student Abbey Maldonado said. “We really wanted to give back to them.”

Noel added, “I’m teaching manners and life skills, and how to maneuver through life, and all the while I’m teaching art. With this project, I wanted something that showed teachers appreciation for all the work that they do.”

For these students, selecting an impactful teacher to draw was the easy part.

“I wanted to draw Ms. Noel because she’s my favorite teacher,” student Clayton Vaughan said. “She always gives us fun projects and makes sure that we have what we need. She gives us a good feeling and experience.”

“I chose Mr. Tyner because I had him in sixth grade for math, and I did not like math, but whenever he was there, I loved math,” student Reese Reddick said. “He was so funny, and he’s really nice.”

“I chose Ms. Hardy because she’s just a likable teacher,” student Jacob Lebo said. “Out of all the past years that I’ve had science, I think this year I’ve liked it the most.”

At the start of the school year, Noel led her art students in a similar project where they were asked to draw a self-portrait that also encompassed a summer activity. When comparing the two projects, students agreed that they improved in shading, details, and contrast.

“I thought this was a really cool project,” Reddick said. “Ms. Noel does all different projects, so if you don’t draw, or if you’re a sculptor, she’ll do that. She’ll go through all different aspects of art.”

Artwork by these students and more will be showcased at Expresso Yourself, Melissa Schools’ Fine Arts Night, on Saturday, April 29 at Melissa High School from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Learn more at www.melissaisd.org/expressoyourself.