Artist and teacher Terry Newitt has been inspiring his Archmere Academy students for over four decades and he still has a spring in his step.
Terry Newitt grew up in England. He was 8 when the family got their first television, and he was glad. “It sparked my imagination,” Newitt said.
He began to draw “just to not be bored,” and knew he had a talent even at that young age.
His family moved to America when his father got a job with DuPont, and they settled into the Chadds Ford area. “I saw Wyeth paintings all over the place, and I was like wow,” he said.
As Newitt fell in love with art, he also wanted to teach art, so he got his masters degree and began teaching at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware.
Mr. Newitt as his students call him learns almost as much from his students as they do from him. “It’s a give and take in a way, they teach me a lot.”
“He really does make you a lot better, I’ve grown a lot as an artist from his teaching,” said Max, a junior at Archmere.
His students really seem to enjoy his class. Not only that, but the kids seemed to genuinely want to be in the class. “They think I have a young attitude and I’m always positive and they love it,” Newitt said.
“The dude is insane, I love him, he’s my favorite teacher,” siad JaNyiah, a junior at Archmere. Before taking Mr. Newitt’s class two and a half years ago, JaNyiah says she couldn’t draw so much as a house, stick figures were her specialty. “Now I’m creating these beautiful, amazing paintings.”
Just communicating with today’s kids is a challenge, and relating to them can be difficult. As a teacher it can be difficult to let the kids be themselves, learn for themselves and make their own discoveries. Newitt is able to pull that off.
“He’s really good at helping you improve your own interpretation, not just tell you what to do, but let you discover it for yourself,” said Haley, a junior at Archmere.
It can also be difficult to break through the distractions kids today face. Electronic devices- “electronic narcotics” as Newitt calls them- are everywhere vying for kids attention inside and outside of the classroom. He says technology is “overcoming these kids.”
When the studetnst start working with their hands and with their minds, though: “They just eat it up”, Newitt said. “It seems like the more this technology expands the more they need what I’m trying to impart.”
Not about to retire
Terry Newitt has had a long career, “a great career”, as he describes it, but he isn’t slowing down. He says he has a gift to teach, an obligation to teach. His goal is to have his students supersede him, and if they don’t become artists that’s ok with him too.
Many of Terry’s students have gone on to great things. One designed the balloon canopy in the Pixar movie “Up.” Illustrator Mark Smith designed the 2008 Beijing Olympics poster and Paul Myoda was one of the artists who worked on the twin tower of lights in New York, just to name a few.
“I have had so many students supersede me. I’m happy with what I’ve done, but immensely proud.”
Newitt still finds joy in teaching. “There’s still joy working with young people, I have a spring in my step all the time”.
You can get more information on Archmere Academy when you visit them on the web.