FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — First she was his student, now she’s his protégé and colleague.

Brittney Boone has been teaching art to students at Franklin High School for about two years under the watchful eye of Clinton Smith. For Smith, art teacher at S.P. Morton Elementary school, Boone represents both the past and the future.

“She is very talented, and she has a love for the kids and she has some good artwork and ideas to share with the kids,” Smith said.

Boone used to be one of those kids. She was one of Smith’s art students growing up.

“Her strength is her ability to draw almost anything. She’s very creative,” Smith said.

After graduating from Franklin High, Boone furthered her art education at Chowan University. And then Franklin’s principal offered her a job at her alma mater.

“It meant everything,” she said, tears rolling down her face.

During the pandemic Boone and Smith challenged their students to learn something, and draw something, and make something that involved recycling as part of the Jason Learning Project.

“In this particular assignment we had to focus on how recycling was essential to our community and it had to be specific to our community,” Smith said.

“They had to research about recycling more than what they knew, and they had fun with it,” Boone said.

Boone was proud of all of her students’ work on the assignment, but pointed to one in particular.

“He actually visited the paper mill and interviewed a couple of people that worked there and did his research on it,” she said

And Smith says he’s proud of what his former student did with her life. He says she checks all the boxes of being a caring and effective art teacher.

“A person who wants to cater to the needs of the students, to find that growth aspect in the kids, to find the ability that the kids have and to foster that ability. And Ms. Boone has those qualities.”