The Art Department at Elk County Catholic High School is taught by Mrs. Liz Scacchitti.
Mrs. Scacchitti grew up in Indiana, PA, and holds an undergraduate degree in art education, with minors in fine arts and education, from Kent State University. She taught elementary art and private painting lessons for 2 years after graduation in Ohio. When she arrived in Elk County she was hired as the executive director of the Elk County Council of the Arts, where she oversaw the business and managed two grant programs for the PA Council on the Arts. Her service area covered a five-county region.
Mrs. Scacchitti is a working artist, creating work in a variety of media including photography, acrylic painting, knitting, alcohol inks, and graphite. Her primary focus is acrylic painting.
At ECCHS Mrs. Scacchitti offers coursework in painting (watercolors, acrylics, oils, and mixed media), drawing (charcoal, Prismacolor, pen and ink, and graphite), and three-dimensional work (pottery, sculpture, stained glass, and glass sculpture). She also offers instruction in digital art using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Ipads. She makes every effort to offer a wide range of materials so all students feel encouraged to explore their potential as artists.
Art is graded Pass/Fail at ECCHS, as it has for many year. Again, this encourages students to feel more free to experiment with art and engage with it outside the high-pressure landscape associated with college admissions. This has been a highly successful approach at ECCHS, pioneered by Mrs. Scacchitti’s predecessor and mentor, Mr. Pete Winklbauer. Many students who might not otherwise enroll in a challenging and enriching course such as art are willing to take that risk because of the pass/fail arrangement, then quickly discover that they pour more work into it than almost any other class–largely because they find themselves inspired by their teacher.
In an era of high-stakes testing, when so many schools across the country have stepped away from education in the arts, ECCHS is immensely proud of its heritage of excellence in this important field. We are also extremely pleased that Mrs. Scacchitti is so committed to giving our students a complete Catholic education, which includes the ability to appreciate and create beautiful and inspiring things.
Painting above is by ECCHS 2022 Senior, Moira Stanisch. Moira won third place in this year’s Congressional Art Competitions for the 15th district. Her artwork will be on display at one of Glenn Thompson’s offices for the next year.
The art classes at St. Marys Catholic Middle School are held twice throughout every six-day schedule and are offered all year for our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. Classes include painting, drawing, sculpting, ceramics, collage work, printmaking, etc. One- and two-dimensional work is covered, and art history and critiques are also touched upon.
Mrs. Lisa Daghir is the art instructor at the middle school level. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art education and elementary education from Edinboro University and has been teaching private art classes for over 30 years for local students and adults in our community. Mrs. Daghir has over 20 years of experience at the North Central PA Regional Planning and Development Commission as a career development coordinator, instructor, and curriculum specialist. She has been teaching art at SMCMS for eight years.
The art classes at St. Marys Catholic Elementary School are taught by Mrs. Cathy Zore. Mrs. Zore holds a B.S. in elementary education with a minor in history as well as a Master’s degree in curriculum development and instruction. She has taught art at SMCES for 22 years.
Students at this level typically work with media such as crayons, markers, colored pencils, chalk, pastels, oil crayons, paint, and clay. They are not only instructed how to perfect their artistic techniques, but they also learn about the elements of art, the principles of design, and art history.
Seasonal-based projects are common throughout the school year as are service projects, such as making decorations for businesses and organizations in the St. Marys area. Mrs. Zore also works with other teachers at the ECCSS elementary schools to do projects related to lessons they are teaching in their other classes.
Through local grants and donations, SMCES has also had the opportunity to participate in the “Arts in Education” program provided through Erie Arts & Culture (formerly the Arts Council of Erie) numerous times. In the spring of 2006, sculptor Dave Poulin worked with our students to create a bronze statue for our school grounds. Most recently, Annie Schmidt from Box of Light Studios in Erie taught our students how to make Claymation and stop-motion videos. The results were fantastic!