As a full time teacher, Adobe Youth Voices lead educator, and father of two, Gregg Witkin has a full schedule. And while he would normally spend what little free time he has pursuing his passions for ice hockey, scuba diving and underwater photography, Gregg has agreed to invest his time this spring into being a judge for the Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards, a global youth media competition.
Gregg knows first hand the power of arts education to ignite a lifelong interest. “When I was in school, I struggled with my traditional art courses, because I have always lacked skill in things such as pencil drawing. Even today, my students tease me about what a terrible artist I am.
“But when I was in 6th grade, the school librarian taught an after school program on making stop motion Claymation using a Super 8 camera. This was brand new technology at the time, and I remember thinking it was pretty cool. It introduced me to a creative process that I could get excited about.
“Creating art using stop-motion animation is still an important process for me, it’s a major component of what I teach, and in fact I am working on setting up a full Claymation production studio at my school, which we hope to have up and running within the next three years.”
Gregg’s love of creative education not only shaped his own story, but is now fueling his passion for his own students and their future successes.
When asked how Adobe Youth Voices has impacted his students, Gregg shared that bringing current technology into the classroom provides students with a new way to express themselves while learning how to use new tools and resources that will benefit them both in and out of the classroom. Adobe Youth Voices gives students competitive skills that they can take to the marketplace in the future for a job in graphic design or video editing.
“In my 15 years of teaching,” says Gregg, “I have seen other programs and initiatives come and go, but the Adobe Youth Voices curriculum of ‘create with purpose’ is the foundation for my digital media classes and will continue to be so for the remainder of my career.”
What does Gregg love about his work with Adobe Youth Voices? Near the top of his list is the opportunity to see young people develop a passion for something, especially if it is something they didn’t even realize they enjoyed prior to his class. “My students are at-risk youth; they are good, kind-hearted kids who perhaps made the wrong decisions academically or in their extracurricular life, and who got off track. Now they are looking to reinvest in their education, and they are striving for greatness.”
Want to see first hand the work Gregg and his students have created? Check out this trailer of student work created in Gregg’s Adobe Youth Voices classroom!