Hundreds of parents and kids showed up for Monday night’s 1st Annual Jonesborough Middle School Art Show and Dance Demonstration.
Each grade, from fifth to eighth, represented different countries from across the globe through dance, art and history through the help of physical education teacher Drew Shortt and art teacher Madison Gray.
Gray, in her first year as a teacher, splits her efforts at Boones Creek Middle School and the Title I school in Jonesborough. She said she was pumped to see so many people show up to support the arts.
Gray and Shortt, with assistant principal Brandon McKee, said they put together the effort about a year ago after noticing an emphasis was taken off the arts in recent years. They worked to bring together families and communities through the art show and dance demonstration.
In what Shortt calls cross-curricular instruction, she and Gray approached history teachers to learn what they had planned to teach, and worked it into their lessons. From that, they settled upon four different countries on which Shortt was able to teach different styles of dance in her P.E. classes for each grade, as well as serving a focus for Gray’s art lessons.
The fifth-graders had the United States of America, and stomped their feet to a Native American tribal beat while displaying arrowheads and dreamcatchers made in Gray’s class. For sixth-graders, Greece and Greek pottery and coins were the focus. They did a Greek-styled dance with lots of clapping.
Orange was the uniform color for the performing seventh-graders, and they spoke and displayed information about the Running of the Bulls, the Day of the Dead and Latin American culture. Japan was the focus of the eighth-grade class. Their artworks included Japanese symbols on rice paper and sushi art.
The wide spectrum of cultures is what McKee liked most about the idea. He said it was a great way to give students a chance to be artistic, while also learning about cultural diversity.
If there was one tricky part, Shortt said it was having the students get over feeling embarrassed about dancing in front of a large crowd. When each of them saw how many were taking part in the activity, they busted out of their shells and had a good time with dancing.
Eighth-grader Breanna Roy was one of the winners of the Award of Excellence, an honor given to three in each grade by the selection of the principal and vice principal. Her rice paper symbols, Luck, Love, and Dream, were picked because she feels like a lucky person, she said.
The multi-talented middle schooler recently shot her fourth deer, holds straight As in school, and boasts a personal best of 5:50 in the mile. She danced along with her classmates, and despite her art catching the eye of school administrators, she says her future is in distance running, having recently taken 13th in the state for cross country.
As for the arts, she said Gray bringing artistic excitement to school has been awesome for the students.
After the art and dance displays, there was pizza, soda and snacks in the school’s cafeteria.