Art in Action Scholarship School Highlight: St. George Elementary
St. George Elementary teacher Mendy Gehrt, who has been an educator for twenty-three years, is delighted to receive the Art in Action Scholarship this year with the strong recognition that her “community is yearning for art.” Mendy recognized her students’ strong desire for an arts education after deciding to teach an afterschool art program, which received an overwhelmingly positive response from students.
Mendy shared, “this Art in Action grant has really made me think outside of the box and educate the kids on different artists. I believe it has really built confidence in some of my students that were not only hesitant to create any kind of art, but also hesitant to share their work with others.”
St. George Elementary is a small rural school nestled in the hills of Kansas between Wamego and Manhattan. Their rapidly growing student body caters to over five hundred students ranging from pre-K to sixth grade. Mendy said that St. George is “building a middle school and the most popular parent vote on the survey was to put a full-time art program in place.”
Mendy shares the community wide belief that art should be an integral part of their children’s curriculum. One of her biggest inspirations was her collegiate background, where she had the opportunity to take art therapy and realized “how art can completely open a child’s feelings by drawing, sketching, and painting.” St. George has not had an art program for nearly fifteen years. With the scholarship, Mendy feels that she has been “really getting to know the kids on a deeper level as they share their artwork.” In particular, the students at St. George loved creating Cubism self-portraits and were disappointed when the class came to an end.
In addition to art, Mendy teaches math to her students, and has been delighted to see how their art curriculum has influenced the rest of their education. Mendy said, “art has also allowed the kids to see the world around them differently. We recently went to K-State for a play and the kids started talking about the shapes and textures of the buildings, the seats we sat in, the patterns they saw and were pointing them out to me. I’m not sure they would have noticed these things or talked about them with another teacher. It really makes what I’m doing feel essential in their education.”
We look forward to continuing our partnership with St. George in the future and seeing what amazing things their students will accomplish!
Do you know a school who would benefit from an Art in Action Scholarship? Our application is now LIVE