Home Community Blog Suzanne Conine – 20 Years of Dedication with NCECA

Waterford would like to take a moment to honor Suzanne Conine for her 20+ years of successful participation in NCECA conferences and exhibitions. Suzanne has quietly, yet confidently put her ceramic program and Waterford School on the national map as one of the best around. Her outstanding efforts have had a life changing impact on her students and have inspired her colleagues. We asked Suzanne to share her experience and success with NCECA over the last 20 years. Congratulations, Suzanne!

Portland 2017 with Samantha Macfarlane
NCECA, Portland 2017, Mfrs. Conine with Samantha Macfarlane ’14 who was attending
from Lewis and Clark, where she gradated with a degree in Ceramics.

I first attended The National Council on the Education for Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conferences as a college student. Those events predated the advent of the K-12 student exhibits. Then, as now, NCECA hosted workshops and demonstrations by accomplished ceramic artists and instructors. NCECA has always been a source of inspiration and learning for me. 

I’ve submitted student work to the K-12 National Ceramic Exhibition at NCECA each school year since joining the Waterford faculty in 1998. I am happy to report that our ceramic arts students have been juried into every NCECA Exhibit from that date forward. The NCECA K-12 Exhibit is a very competitive national event and it is an honor for any student whose work is accepted. A significant portion of Waterford student work has also been awarded special recognition by the NCECA Jury.

Submitting student entries requires advance preparation including photographing the works and careful packaging (ceramics can be fragile). Once at NCECA, there is a very organized group of teachers and other volunteers unpacking and setting up the exhibit.

The K-12 National Exhibition usually includes the work of 150 students or roughly ten percent of the total entries.

At the conclusion of each year’s exhibit the whole process is reversed as the work is taken down, repacked and sent back to the schools. The exhibit setup and takedown is hard work but it is also a social event where teachers can share experiences and learn from each other.

The NCECA Exhibits have brought well-deserved recognition to Waterford. 

A few of the most memorable awards include the following students. Images of their work are included.



Madeleine Morrill – Scholarship to Kansas City Art Institute- This is a $20,000 award renewable for four years. 

Maddie Morrill



Daniel Beck – Honorable Mention, Curators Book Award, Speedball Art Products Potter’s Wheel Award- a potters wheel was shipped directly to his home.
Daniel Beck


Lauren Groathouse – Ingrid Mahan Foundation Scholarship Award – One of two Mahan scholarships, selected by the scholarship committee, it is a renewable award for direct payment of tuition of $1000 annually for up to four years, with re-qualification by merit of academic standing, a demonstrable commitment to the study of ceramics and significant progress.

Lauren Groathouse


Samantha Macfarlane – The Lucy Roy Memorial Scholarship – This $500 award, selected by the scholarship committee, will be for direct payment toward tuition.

Samantha McFarlane



Jonathan Perkins – The Jared Branfman Memorial Scholarship, Speedball Art Products Potter’s Wheel Award- a potters wheel was shipped directly to his home.

Jonathan Perkins

Other notable awards for Jonathan Perkins:
Scholastic National Silver Portfolio Award and Scholastic Art Magazine Artist of the Month Spotlight- December 2008/January 2009 issue.
Springville Museum of Art – Annual High School Art Show – Outstanding Artist of the Year.


The large format posters NCECA publishes each year display pictures of Waterford student work along with the name of the school. 

Helping a student take an idea from concept to completed product is an iterative process of experimentation, failure, success and serendipitous discovery. These are rare opportunities for the iPhone generation to be actively engaged in the creative process all the way from initial concept to finished work. The experience of being a maker is an essential element in education and student development. 

Conference attendance provides teachers with exposure to advances in creativity, teaching curriculum and student learning through clay in the contemporary world. Welcoming and innovative events, engaging discourses, and a wide variety of new resources are there to be experienced. 

While engaging body and mind in the act of making, clay connects the maker to tactile and cognitive experiences. Ceramic art shapes authentic interactions with one another while connecting us to cultural traditions, knowledge, and innovations.

NCECA has helped me grow as an educator and I am pleased that Waterford will continue to enjoy the benefits NCECA provides our students and teachers as Ms. Stewart continues our long relationship with the K-12 National Ceramic Exhibition Foundation.

Suzanne ConineSuzanne Conine shares the experience of awe, inspiration, and intrigue produced by beautiful handmade objects with her students. These are the objects that enrich daily life and elevate mundane experience by connecting a maker and its user. The process of making things well comes with a series of problems that, when resolved, give the maker the confidence to accept the next challenge. Students in Suzanne’s classroom learn that it is not the solution, but the problem, that is the best teacher as they wind their way through processes required by their inventions. Suzanne’s teaching career started with guest lecture demonstrations at elementary schools in Southern Utah. She would be dying wool with local plants, making small weavings or clay projects with brave teachers in their classrooms; she found that she enjoyed sharing her passions with others. After completing her degree in art education at Southern Utah University she began teaching at Dixie High School in St.George. Suzanne earned her masters in Art Education at BYU. In 1998 she joined the Waterford School Art Department. She received an Art Educators Fellowship residency at Skidmore College in New York in the summer of 2008. Her art earned a public art commission from Utah Heritage and Arts in 2011 and she received the Waterford Educator Prize in 2013. Being a Waterford School art educator has been the highlight of Suzanne’s career along with seeing her students recognized with local and national awards every year.
Visual Arts

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