Four art teachers honored for Very Special Arts
Four UCPS art teachers have been recognized by the Artists Music Guild for their collaborative work in bringing Very Special Arts (VSA) to special needs students.
Jan Kerley from Porter Ridge High, Frank “Scott” Meier from Parkwood High and Tracy Price and Susan Helms from Piedmont High were recognized during the Artist Music Guild (AMG) Heritage Awards ceremony on Nov. 10, 2012, in Fort Mill, SC. They were named 2012 Humanitarians of the Year.
The four were recognized for their collaborative work in bringing VSA to the children of Union County. They work with the National Art Honor Society clubs and art student volunteers every year to bring the arts to the physically and mentally disabled students in the county.
“The visiting students are provided a day of fun, immersed in the arts,” Kerley said. “The community is always very supportive. The fire department also gets into the act each year, bringing a fire truck for the children to climb in and see what it looks like from the driver's seat.”
Students create arts and crafts at individual booths created by art teachers and their art students from most of the different high schools in the county, all connected by the theme chosen for that year.
The festivals feature a variety of art-related activities, a moonwalk, face painting, singing, dancing and even a petting zoo. Area restaurant and sports mascots join the activities in the opening ceremonies.
The UCPS Very Special Arts Festival began in 1994, given by Piedmont High School’s National Arts Honor Society (NAHS). It ended, however, in 2008 when the festival outgrew its organizers and the school at which it was held. It was then moved to Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts.
“The participants have had the privilege of utilizing Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts front courtyard for the past two years for this event and appreciate that school's willingness to help,” Kerley said. “Scott Meier is instrumental in organizing many parts of the event, including a very large t-shirt order to accommodate all the volunteers and visiting students.”
Kerley said the participating art teachers are proud of their high school art clubs who volunteer to participate and share their love of the arts with these students.
“The smiles and the laughter from the visiting student's are the common answer to the question of why so much effort is put into this one day,” she said. “The teachers and students are looking forward to this spring and a brand new VSA day.”
• This article was provided courtesy of the Communications Office of the Union County Public Schools.