Amber has been an art teacher at Batesburg-Leesville Middle School for about 10 years. Before COVID-19, she was looking for a new arts enrichment opportunity for her eighth-grade students. She wanted to do something different and take her students out of the school environment as a special treat, especially for those who don’t have opportunities for extracurricular activities. Her principal, who was familiar with Newberry, suggested the Newberry Arts Center for the field experience.
Amber was willing to try it but didn’t know quite what to expect. On her first trip, the class got to observe a potter’s wheel demonstration from Marquerite Palmer. “They were locked in,” Amber said. “It is neat for them to learn from an expert, someone different from their teacher. She is a wealth of knowledge.”
Amber has now brought her class several times, and her students work hard to meet expectations for good behavior in anticipation of participating. “It’s a big deal to them,” she said. “It’s like a rite of passage.”
Amber can tell how much her students enjoy the experience. “Middle schoolers sometimes don’t take pride in their work,” she said. “This is a confidence builder even with kids that aren’t necessarily ‘arts kids’—they ask to take their artwork home to show it to family.”
An unexpected benefit has been her own enrichment. “I get as much out of it as the students do,” Amber said. “It gives me new ideas that I can bring back to the classroom.” Amber has purchased equipment for her own classroom because she liked the techniques that she saw at NAC.
The work of the NAC enriches the lives of students and teachers in the Newberry community and beyond, thanks to your support!