Friday, June 8, 2012

Central School Gets Grant for “Arts Tell a Story”

Schools across the country are currently facing budget cuts, which leaves many arts and cultural programs by the wayside. However, the Central School, an elementary school in South Berwick, finds ways year after year to make sure their Fine Arts Celebration remains an annual tradition.
The theme of this year’s celebration was “The Arts Tell A Story”, and PreK to 3rd grade students learned how to express stories through movement, song, art, theater and expression. The school also brought in guest artists to help facilitate students’ learning. Vicki Stewart, principal of Central School, worked closely with volunteers and pursued a $5,000 grant through Bob's Discount Furniture’s Celebrate the Arts contest in order to continue the school’s tradition of cultural development.
“This is an easy way for schools to get a chance to win money,” said Cathy Poulin, outreach director at Bob’s Discount Furniture. “This is our 8th year, trying to let community schools know that programs are being cut everywhere, with arts usually the first to go. We give $5,000 awards to schools in nine different states.
The staff at Central School really came together to make this year’s Fine Arts Celebration an interdisciplinary event. Tina Polichronopoulos, a librarian, Kate Smith, a music teacher, Kristan Tiede, a physical education teacher, and Casey Everett, an art teacher worked collaboratively with students, teachers, and parents on this year’s seven-day celebration, whose theme is “The Arts Tell a Story.”
“We found out about the grant opportunity and told our parents. Actually, it was a parent whose name was drawn to win,” Smith said. “This was the first year we didn’t have to actively look for a grant because we won the $5,000 so early.”
The group added eleven artists and musicians and six staff members to work with the kids all during the week of the Celebration. There were fourteen activities at the school and the Town Hall. “The focus was to give the kids kinesthetic opportunities. These kids learn by doing,” Smith said. “Students who tend to be very quiet were benefiting just as much. It really gave them a way out of their shells, to be recognized for their strengths. This grant makes for great opportunities for Maine students.”