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Helping art thrive in Tehachapi

Grassroots Tehachapi


Debbie Haeberle

Debbie Haeberle loves displaying her student's art around the Jacobsen Middle School campus.

I come from a very artistic family. My mom and dad both painted and could easily create cute, beautiful sketches. And my brother, well, he can draw just about anything and it always comes out brilliant.

I was always jealous of this talent and did my best to take as many art classes as possible. From basic drawing to ceramics and stained glass, I tried it all. I made a few "okay" things, but it definitely isn't my calling. Most importantly though, I had fun and the classes gave me new perspectives on more than just art.

Debbie Haeberle, the art teacher at Jacobsen Middle School, thinks art can assist in communication and problem solving in any profession.

"I want my students to be able to express themselves creatively and art helps students learn different ways to problem solve. I want them to be able to create a quick sketch to visually articulate their point or concept no matter what profession they choose," she said.

Haeberle began teaching within the Tehachapi Unified School District in August 2017. Prior to that, she worked as an activity leader at Cesar Chavez Science Magnet School in Bakersfield for 11 years. She also spent a year as an art teacher at Ridgeview High School.

I'm always amazed by teachers. Their dedication and patience is something to truly appreciate. For a teacher in the arts, this appreciation is even greater. Districts across the country have been forced to cut back on a variety of art classes due to budgetary restraints. Haeberle said Tehachapi Unified brought art back to the students after years of not having it. She now has a budget from the district, a donation from Art, Science & Technology Educational Corporation of Tehachapi and another donation from Parents and the Tehachapi Valley Arts Association also donate supplies to keep art at the fingertips of our local kids.

"Art supplies are consumable and need [to be] constantly replaced, so I appreciate all the generosity of Tehachapi," she said.

Drawing, painting, photography, sculpture – Haeberle likes giving students a variety of mediums to choose from and she enjoys teaching them all.

In her free time, Haeberle creates her own pen and ink art, but recently began experimenting with alcohol inks.

"They are free flowing like watercolor, I have not learned how to control them yet or if I even can," she said. "I have been watching YouTube videos about using them."

Keeping art alive in the district doesn't stop in the classroom. Haeberle also helped create an Anime/Draw Club at Jacobsen.

"I am not a fan per se of anime, but I love the creativity of the medium and that students are so enthusiastic about it as well," she said.

Her favorite thing about teaching art is getting the chance to put her student's creations on display around the school and during art shows.

"I have enjoyed seeing my student's work in the local art show at Gallery and Gifts, they were so excited to see their work displayed and received ribbons," she said.

See you next time!

Do you know an inspirational group, individual or program that should be featured in an upcoming Grassroots Tehachapi? Email me at [email protected]


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