Davis High School art students said thank you to longtime art teacher Jerry DeCamp in their own special way last week — with a sculpture.
Their creation was installed outside the art classrooms Thursday morning, then the students surprised DeCamp at an impromptu ceremony. The sculpture features a stack of ceramic books, each hand-built and glazed by DHS students.
“This Art Quad sculpture is dedicated to Jerry DeCamp and the phenomenally positive impact he has had on our campus,” said Doug Wright, who teaches art history, photography and ceramics at DHS.
“I wanted to get a group of students to build something together, and to build not for themselves but for someone else; not at the end of a career but during it so the honoree can feel the appreciation for the hard work they do daily,” Wright added.
The descriptive words on the bindings of the ceramic books — supportive, passionate, inspiring, intellectual and advocate, to cite a few — represent impressions of DeCamp from his colleagues.
“If someone asked me what my word is to describe Jerry, it would be ‘irreplaceable,’ ” Wright said.
DeCamp has taught art at Davis High School for more than 30 years, touching the hearts and minds of thousands of students over the years. At one point or another, DeCamp has taught drawing and painting, graphics, ceramics and photography. However, it was his foresight that brought two new classes to the DHS course catalog: Advanced Placement art history and video/film.
Both classes were established more than 20 years ago to help create a more diverse course offering for students and teachers alike.
“Jerry is an awesome lecturer with a deep understanding of the material,” Wright said. “He was a grad student at UCD when I was doing my undergrad work there in art history and his discussion groups on specific art historical topics were the best of any of the teaching assistants on staff.”
DeCamp also has bridged the worlds of education and art by continuing to work as a painter and sculptor.