CENTREVILLE, MD—Surrounded by paintings, pottery, and wood carvings, Ben Dize helps students with landscape sketches of the Gunston campus. A few feet away, the whir of the pottery wheel and the buzz of wood-carving instruments hum in the background. For twenty years, Mr. Dize has been a fixture at Gunston as the Art Department Chair, but this month is special—Dize celebrates a career milestone of 50 years teaching art.
“I like to say that Ben is both the oldest and youngest teacher we have at Gunston,” shared Headmaster John Lewis, “he brings decades of experience to the classroom, but he still maintains the passion of an excited, newly-minted teacher.” Dize began his teaching career at Mount Hebron High School in Howard County on February 3, 1969. From there he taught for the Kent County Public School system for thirty years. Gunston was fortunate enough to have him share his creativity and passion for art beginning in 1999.
To celebrate Dize’s milestone, the entire student body, faculty, staff and past co-workers gathered to praise and honor Ben Dize. When asked what he enjoyed most about his career, Dize replied, “Seeing apprehensive students transform into artists”.
Former Gunston student and Emmy Award recipient, Rita Baghdadi summed it up best, “Ben Dize is an incredibly talented artist, and one of the most influential teachers in my life. I learned a lot of valuable lessons in Ben’s classroom, most importantly to not take things so seriously! We always had fun, no matter what. By showing me how to think critically about art, and encouraging me to experiment with my own creativity, Ben taught me how to embrace my own unique style, a reminder I hold very dear to this day. Thank you for being you, Ben!”