U-32 Lady Power Pt. 1: Adrian Wade-Keeney

The pottery room is hot, loud, and chaotic. Kids are throwing on the wheel, clay is being tossed every which way, and the Lumineers pandora radio is blaring. Adrian Wade, the teacher, keeps her cool and attempts to help a student with their mug, giving it all her attention.

Adrian is one of several powerful women who have made an impact on the U-32 community, but Adrian has been through a lot to make her into who she is today.

Growing up down south, in Tennessee, Adrian was always under the impression that, since she was a girl, she couldn’t do things like be a doctor, which is what her father was. She and her sister were more expected to fill her mother’s role as a housewife and a med tech. Adrian’s sister went on to be a doctor, proving them wrong. However, Adrian doesn’t blame her parents for her believing she couldn’t do it. She blames “the idea that society somehow put it in my head.”

Adrian went to an all-women’s private school until halfway through ninth grade. She was very outgoing and artistic at a young age, but after being moved around three times in high school, she wasn’t as creative and was more focused on her anger with her parents for the frequent changes. She lost interest in art until she met her art teacher, Missy Warp, who changed a lot of the way she thought about herself.

“She was really positive and had a lot of energy,” Adrian said. “And she was young, and a lot of my teachers were older.”

She described a moment in class where her teacher really impressed her. A fellow student, John, was being disrespectful and using profanity, talking about how women were inferior. Adrian said Missy Warp “stopped class and she looked directly at him and completely calmly, without getting angry at all, was like ‘that’s completely inappropriate. You are speaking out of line’ and he got all ruffled.”

The student didn’t stop, and Adrian’s teacher asked him to leave, explaining to the class why what he was doing wasn’t okay, making it a teaching moment.

“She was the first female in my life to really remind me how important it was to fill the role of a female in my generation,” Adrian said.

Adrian attended an all women’s college, Hollins University in Virginia, to finish her education and get her bachelor’s degree. She described going to an all women’s school as “empowering.”

She also spoke about a married couple who were her pottery teachers, “they created this space that was very empowering. Pottery and art was more than just that,” Adrian explains. “It was society and politics and everything that surrounds you.”  

Adrian was the fourth women to join the art wing at U-32 and has made a name for herself in the U-32 community. One of the things that makes Adrian stand out is her teaching style.  

“I try my hardest to form individual relationship with every kid so that there’s something that I know about them,” she said, “it helps me guide them towards something more beneficial.”