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FOCUS ON FACULTY

As a college student, Ms. Amy Digges learned an important lesson: it is very difficult to gain anything from an education that is neither interesting nor exciting. As Boys’ Latin’s upper school fine arts teacher, Ms. Digges holds this close. 

Ms. Digges learned this lesson as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia. “During my second semester of freshman year, I took an art course in which the professor had us only draw a pinecone,” says Ms. Digges, “That killed my creativity.” Ultimately, she changed her major from art to psychology, graduating with an M.A in Psychology in 1998.

Ms. Digges had few plans exiting college, and as a result, her description of her post-college life contains a variety of jobs. She worked at a jewelry store called Bedazzled. She sold Christmas trees in Atlanta. She even managed a veterinary hospital for some time. Ms. Digges says she “wanted to be a free spirit.” 

However, as years passed, her priorities began to change. Her brothers started having kids, and she now wanted a career. “I wanted something I could look at and build [on] every day, something to be proud of,” says Ms. Digges. In 2002, she moved to Baltimore, a city that got under her skin “in a good way.” For a little while, she held a job buying and selling ads for the magazine called Inside Lacrosse, which ultimately introduced her to Boys’ Latin. When a job at BL opened for the 2005-2006 academic year, she took her chance. 

It took time before Ms. Digges emerged as an art teacher. She was originally hired as an assistant librarian. She didn’t teach a class until one of the art teachers took a sabbatical and left Boys’ Latin. After that, she worked part-time in the library and part-time as a fine arts instructor. The following year, her passion led her to accept a full-time faculty position teaching fine arts. 

Ms. Digges is grateful for the balance and creativity Boys’ Latin offers her as an art teacher: “I have that ability to change the routine, so it feels new every year.” The financial support of Boys’ Latin allowed her to finish what she started as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia: in 2014 she received her BA in Art and Design from Towson University. Saddled with a full-time job, classes twice a week, and several children, Ms. Digges still found time to devote to her own creative pursuits: “I would tuck the kids into bed at 9 PM and paint until 2 AM every day. It was incredibly difficult, [but] it was the best time of my life.” 

Ms. Digges cannot be found on Lake Avenue for the spring of 2022. She is currently on a 90-day sabbatical in Spain with her husband and children as part of her husband’s work as a middle school Spanish teacher. They are working on an olive plantation to help with olive oil production. They journeyed to Seville during Semana Santa, a customary week of parades and festivities leading up to Easter. They have attended cooking classes and visited spice markets in Marrakech and Fez in Morocco. Ms. Digges is also maintaining a blog during her time traveling and will certainly spend time studying Spanish art “up close.”

The immediate intent of the trip is to supplement both her and her husband's curricula for the 2022-2023 academic year. Besides the professional development, Ms. Digges describes other motivations for the trip: “I want my kids to get outside of their cultural box and gain a perspective of other cultures.” She wants to teach them that “we can do hard things…we can be uncomfortable and persevere.” 

For years, Ms. Digges taught in an art studio in Smith Hall. Isolated from the upper school across the bridge, her studio had large open windows flooding the room with natural light. During COVID, she moved across the street to the upper school and stayed there. Her new office has no natural light but windows that open right into a crowded hallway, making her accessible to everyone in the community. Many teachers wouldn’t like this change, but Ms. Digges does. This isn’t surprising, considering how many students love her for her open and positive attitude.