Anthony Aiuppy will work with students to create anthology diary comic
JACKSONVILLE — An art teacher at Englewood Elementary School has been selected as the winner of the Wolfburg Fellowship for Social Justice in Education. The Wolfburg Fellowship provides up to $7,000 for educators to deepen their knowledge around issues related to social justice, diversity and inclusion, and to implement an aligned action research project in partnership with students.
Teacher Anthony Aiuppy plans on using the Fellowship opportunity to attend the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and create an anthology diary comic that builds empathy in the classroom, on the school campus, and in the community.
More than 20 languages are spoken in the homes of Edgewood Elementary School students, and in his art classes, Aiuppy draws the connection between the written words of different cultures and visual arts.
In his application Aiuppy said, “The focus of my fellowship relies heavily on students being able to share their stories through words and/or pictures. Through sequential art, my students will be able to tell stories of where they come from and their family dynamic, whether they be immigrant, refugee, or a minority. And for students who do live these experiences, their stories will come in the form of bonding and making friends and living their school life in a multicultural context.”
Aiuppy also intends to share what he learns from his students and project with other teachers via the Teach Conference, FAEA (Florida Art Educator Association) Conference, faculty workshops at the school, and other workshops in the 2023-24 school year and beyond.
“For me this is an opportunity that will pay dividends over time, as I continue to learn and develop not just teaching comics, but learning and teaching students with distinct, diverse voices,” he said. “Giving students a voice and allowing them to share it to teach teachers allows teachers to grow in empathy for their students and the community they serve in.”
Jake and Brian Wolfburg, the CEO of VyStar Credit Union, established the Fellowship at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund in 2020 to advance the work of public school teachers committed to social justice in Duval County. Additional funding for the Fellowship was provided via a generous gift from Liz and Ken Babby, the owner of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
“Mr. Aiuppy is exactly the kind of teacher this fellowship was created for,” said Brian and JakeWolfburg. “He teaches at a very diverse school and makes sure to incorporate the variety of cultures into his teaching practice. With the fellowship, he will be giving every student a voice and sharing what they have to say with our entire community. We owe it to these students to hear what they have to say and learn from them as well.”
“Jacksonville is a diverse community and we’re excited to get to experience the many cultures represented through Mr. Aiuppy’s students,” said Liz and Ken Babby. “The arts, like athletics, brings diverse communities together and builds community. We are excited to support the Fellowship and look forward to learning from the students.”
The Wolfburg Fellowship provides up to $7,000 total value to the teacher and the teacher’s students, including $3,000 for the Fellow’s participation in a quality professional learning experience in social justice, $2,000 for the Fellow’s school-based action research project, $1,500 for the Fellow’s participation in JPEF’s professional learning opportunities and $500 for students to lead change alongside the Fellow, as age-appropriate.
Aiuppy plans to mentor two fifth graders to attend local art events, meet with exhibiting artists, and visit gallery and museum openings where they can have conversations, share their stories, and learn from diverse artists living in Northeast Florida, some who are immigrants to the region. In addition, the students will attend at least one conference where they can discuss and help facilitate a conversation about their immigrant experience as it relates to their comics produced in the comic anthology and assist/co-lead a workshop with the teacher and share their perspective on the process of making an autobiographical comic.
The Wolfburgs welcome the support of like-minded individuals and organizations to support the Fund through gifts to the endowed fund or in direct support to the Fellowship. Anyone interested in supporting this work is welcome to contact Courtney Weatherby-Hunter at email@example.com.