Art Program

The art program at Elk County Catholic School System is impressive, to say the least. Our instructors hone the artistic abilities of our students and train their creative minds to “think outside the box.” Below is a description of each school’s art department.

High School

winklbauer paintingwinklbauer croppedThe art department at Elk County Catholic High School is under the direction of Mr. Pete Winklbauer. Born in Altoona, PA, Pete holds degrees in fine art from Mount Aloysius College and in art education from Mercyhurst College. He has been teaching art classes at ECC for 46 years. His accomplishments include a number of one-man shows and his work is included in countless public and private collections in 11 countries.
His artistic journey has involved many media, but watercolor emerged early as his favorite. The artist’s strength lies in his disciplined work ethic. Rising early each day to paint, he finds his greatest inspiration and creativity in these early hours and knows, as he tells his students, “Each time you pick up the brush, you get better.”
His own work and accomplishments in the art world were only a part of his fulfillment as an artist; a big part of the joy of his journey has been guiding and developing talent in his students. The fact that many of his students have gone on to earn their own name in the art world is especially gratifying.
The art classes offered at the high school level include painting (watercolors, acrylics, oils, and mixed media), drawing (charcoal, prismacolor, and graphite), and three-dimensional work (pottery, sculpture, stained glass, and glass sculpture). Art is graded Pass/Fail.
Paintings above by Peter Winklbauer; painting in the header by international student Len Nguyen.

Middle School

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.

Elementary School

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 and is a shared art instructor with St. Boniface Catholic School in Kersey and St. Leo Catholic School in Ridgway.
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!

Summer Camp Program

During the summer of 2012, “Adventures in Learning,” the first-ever ECCSS Summer Camp program was initiated. The program continues, and camps are open to all students throughout the region. They focus in the areas of religion, academics, sports, character-building, and, of course, the arts. Click here to view the most recently offered arts camps and a description of each.
Below are some pictures from the 2017 summer camps!


From left to right: A group of future novelists illustrate their storybooks at “Authors in Action” Camp; a “Confidence Counts” camper poses for the camera.