Derrick Wallace, a Carrick High School graduate, admits he didn’t have much aspiration for his future before enrolling in Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Youth & Arts’ (MCG Youth & Arts) after-school arts programming.
“Before the Guild, I wasn’t in the best place mentally. I had no confidence. I had no plans for my future, my self-esteem was at an all-time low, but the Guild led me in the exact direction I needed to be in.” Derrick remembers, “Being a high school senior with no plans, it’s amazing to think how far I’ve come because MCG played a big part in my life.”
Derrick took many digital art classes during his time at MCG Youth & Arts. He recalls, “through those classes, I saw the teaching artists being open-minded and willing to help others learn. The MCG staff has become like a family to me, they are people I can look up to when I need motivation.”
Derrick immersed himself in the variety of opportunities that MCG Youth & Arts has to offer. He signed up for the Psychology 101 course that is part of MCG Youth & Arts’ partnership program with Westminster College. The courses taught by Westminster professors, offers college credit to MCG Youth & Arts junior and senior high school students. These courses help students strengthen their preparation for their college careers. He explained that taking that class truly motivated him to stay focused.
“We learned about the act of control and how that inevitably affects a person’s decisions,” Derrick said.
“It taught me a lot about myself.” In addition to the psychology course, Derrick also joined staff and fellow students on the annual Yellowstone National Park trip, helped artist Kyle Holbrook paint the Pittsburgh Pirates Roberto Clemente mural in Lawrenceville, and traveled to visit Edinboro University.
Derrick is currently a freshman studying Art Education at Edinboro University.
When asked if attending MCG Youth & Arts gave him the confidence to pursue a college education, Derrick stated “Absolutely. MCG is the reason I even thought about pursuing my passions and seeking out my dreams. I honestly believe I’d still be at home in Pittsburgh, if Sam and Talon [MCG Youth & Arts staff] didn’t drive me up to Edinboro on the field trip. They are the reason that I’m even at college and studying Art Education right now.”
Ultimately, Derrick hopes to find a worthwhile job in the arts, so that he can continue to grow and help others achieve their passions.
Derrick recognizes the importance of having students participate in art programs like MCG Youth & Arts.
“Getting involved is a way to expand your horizons, a way to put yourself out there, and meet new people,” said Derrick. “Through the Guild, they help artists widen their range of talents and improve themselves for the future.”