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Master of Art Education
Gabrielle Oviatt


Every generation has encountered mental illness and anxiety but statistics show a shocking increase in anxiety that is exponentially affecting Generation Z. Mental health and emotional stability is crucial in guiding children to become healthy, happy and productive adults. What happens in a school environment when a majority of our youth are struggling with emotional security? Anxiety levels are compounded when these children are learning life skills from a parent that is abusive or mentally ill. These conditions are extremely detrimental to their education and future. If current societal conditions are not addressed, the nation will be in danger of passing their unhealthy and undesirable mental health onto the next generation. 


Many societies in the past have dismissed trauma and mental illness. This cultural pattern is a result of a lack in understanding between the connections of a child’s neurological development to their disruptive behaviors. Research shows that for the millennial generation approximately one in five people were affected with anxiety and depression. Now Generation Z records show one in three will suffer from a mental adversity sometime in their life. Educators are provided with knowledge of how a traumatic brain functions, however it is what we do with this information that will begin a healing process for children with trauma and mental illness. 


Art teachers may be the first to notice troubling behaviors from students who are suffering. The research shows how art can be one of the best ways for a traumatized, depressed or anxious student to heal. Healthy school environments, positive relationships with mindful and intentional art lessons can often help to heal through visual and verbal dialog for the children that we service. 

What my time at KCAD meant to me

I have attended Kendall since I was a little girl. I was so excited to take the continuing education classes on Saturday mornings, which included jewelry making, sculpting with clay, and t-shirt designing. Later in life, I knew I wanted to be an art teacher, and found that Kendall was the best choice for me. It was here that I met some of the most influential people in my life, from the instructors to some lifelong friends. The professors help me explore and learn new techniques, which are now passed down to my students. After graduating and teaching for a year, I went back to Kendall once again. I learned how to create lessons that included multiple cultures, a deeper meaning toward making, and how to encourage my students life through art. I cherished my time at Kendall and will find ways to continue my love and support in the years to come.

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