The Hidden Gem

Teacher Brian Kroeker explains the Jewelry class and the atmosphere it creates

Junior+Tanner+Rupp+works+diligently+in+Jewelry+1+to+create+his+artwork.+Students+begin+with+simpler+machinery+and+work+their+way+up.
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The Hidden Gem

Junior Tanner Rupp works diligently in Jewelry 1 to create his artwork. Students begin with simpler machinery and work their way up.

Junior Tanner Rupp works diligently in Jewelry 1 to create his artwork. Students begin with simpler machinery and work their way up.

Junior Tanner Rupp works diligently in Jewelry 1 to create his artwork. Students begin with simpler machinery and work their way up.

Junior Tanner Rupp works diligently in Jewelry 1 to create his artwork. Students begin with simpler machinery and work their way up.

Lanie Render, Reporter

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On the furthest end of the school lies the Jewelry classroom, a hidden gem unknown to many. Few students are aware of the impressive machinery and resources that are unique to the BV School District.

A typical day in Room 611 constitutes a fairly lenient structure. Jewelry Teacher, Brian Kroeker explains that the class is very student-driven. Once a direction is given, students can transform their unique ideas into their own project.

“Every project is based on a new technique, and then I have them tie in their project to some sort of concept,” Kroeker said. “It is something beyond here is a circle and here is a square. Beyond that, they have a lot of freedom in terms of taking a direction that they are interested in.”

The flow of the classroom is a constant movement of students. Torches line the walls and metals and coppers fill the shelves. All of the resources are open for students use. One of the more impressive projects in the curriculum includes enameling. During this process, students fuse glass to create a variety of colors similar to stained glass.

“We worked with some chemicals to change the color of the metal which is called a patina,” Kroeker said.

If they continue to follow their passion for the class, Jewelry 2 students have the opportunity to work with twenty-four carat gold in the first semester, something that is unique to BV West.

Unlike other classes, students are able to start on the same page in Jewelry. Very few students have any prior experience in this field, so all are able to improve as a class rather than a few exceptional individuals.

“I think the cool thing about the class is that nobody has any experience at all. So when you walk in, [it is] unlike other classes where people may have experience,” Kroeker said. “[With jewelry] everyone starts on the first page so we can grow and learn together. It isn’t like you walk in and feel like you are behind anybody else in the beginning.”

Ironically, Kroeker found his passion for Jewelry through a mandatory class in college and began to fall in love with it. Eventually, he began putting artwork up in the gallery of the University of Kansas. Seeing his artwork on display inspired him to take his Art major and specialize in Jewelry.

“I made a piece that looked like it would be found in a store and I was hooked,” he said.

He encourages students to continue as he did and explore different art fields that they hadn’t previously consider taking.

Kroeker exercises his passion for jewelry  through more than simply teaching. He has his own Etsy shop called Chalet Jewelry Designs. On this site, anyone can view the intricate designs he creates in his spare time.

“Even if you are not interested in jewelry, the sequential planning and problem solving and working from concept to a completed product is cool,” Kroeker said.

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