Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Photos by Hollie Macomber

Ceramics Class Changes Student’s Life

Story by Angela Peach

One class can change a student’s life. Ask Elaina Halye, a senior at Ohio Conference's Spring Valley Academy (SVA), and she will tell you that the ceramics class she took her sophomore year did just that.

Halye has fond memories of seeing the pottery that her aunt and uncle, Kathleen (Halye) Delgado (’02) and Myles Halye (’05), made in their ceramics classes around her grandma’s house. It intrigued her enough that when she had the opportunity to take that class, she jumped at the chance.

“It wasn’t easy at first,” Elaina admits, “but I caught on pretty quickly.”

Yet it was more than just learning a new skill that connected with her.

“I started learning ceramics during a difficult time in my life,” Elainasays. “But in the pottery studio, I was able to just focus on being creative. It helped to clear my mind and gave me something else to think about.”

Beth Jeffers, art and ceramics teacher at SVA, watched Elaina’s interest in pottery grow. “I think she enjoyed it right away,” says Jeffers. “But it went deeper than that. Even after the class ended, she still had an interest in learning, trying out new techniques. She’s become quite skilled.”
Elaina now works as Jeffers’ student worker, cleaning the pottery studio and the larger art classroom and helping her set up projects. “I’ve watched her responsibility and maturity grow,” says Jeffers, “as an artist, as a student and as a student worker. I’m very proud of her.”
So much so that Jeffers awarded Elaina an Outstanding Achievement award during the school’s Awards Ceremony in May 2023 to acknowledge her continual improvement, skill and dedication to her pottery.
To top it off, when she graduates this May, Elaina will be the first third-generation graduate of SVA. Her grandmother, Cindy (Groves) Halye graduated in 1974, and her mother, Rochelle (Hutchinson) Dyer, and late father, Brian Halye, were both members of the Class of 1999.
Elaina is excited about her next steps. She already accepts commissions from people through her Blue Barn Pottery business and hopes to major in both Art and Business at Southern Adventist University (Tenn.), with an eye toward opening her own pottery studio. She plans to teach classes so others can find the joy in ceramics that she has.
“I’m excited to share my knowledge,” she says. “I think anyone—from ages 5 to 95—can learn how to do pottery. I just want to help people find something that gives them as much happiness as learning pottery has given me.”

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