Barnes honored with WSFA Class Act Award

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2000

Staff Writer

Dec. 13, 2000 10 PM

Day Barnes was surprised when she got the call 15 minutes before the WSFA News Team showed up at her classroom to award her with this month’s WSFA Class Act Award.

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"It was a total surprise," Barnes said. "I had no idea. I don’t even know how I was nominated."

Barnes is the art instructor at Charles Henderson Middle School. She is in her fourth year teaching at the middle school after a 10-year career in the Indian Program in the Pike County School System. While working with the Indian Program Barnes said she emphasized Indian art as well as Indian history.

Art has always been a love for Barnes, who said she always had a natural talent for it.

"I didn’t take any art classes until college because she didn’t have time during high school," she said. I loved it but I just didn’t have time."

Now just about everyday Barnes in involved in art either in the classroom, or when she has spare time she delves into a project of her own.

"My favorite to work with is pottery or clay," she said. "Sometime I draw of paint something."

In her classroom, pottery is still one of her favorites, and her students enjoy it too.

"They love to get their hands in the clay and make pots and sculptures," Barnes said. "They enjoy making creations out of a lump of clay.

Pottery is probably the messiest thing we do. It’s hard to maintain my room and order, and it’s hard to keep the students from wiping their hands on their clothes. But pottery is the most rewarding."

Art is an elective at CHMS.

Although sixth and eighth grade students only get one elective, and seventh graders get two, Barnes said students show a lot of interest in the program.

"Many of the students who start out in the program stick with it," Barnes said. "It’s a great way for some of these student to excel and get a feeling of success when they are not very strong academically."

In her classroom Barnes asks a lot of her students, and they usually come through for her.

"I ask that they do their very best every day," she said. "I ask them to come to class with an open mind and try to be creative. I try to open their eyes to their talents. Sometimes they don’t believe me when I tell them their art is good.

"Even if a student is not as talented they can get an ‘A’ in my class if they try."

Funding to keep the art department full of supplies sometimes comes from outside the school. Barnes said the department depends on grants, a $20 fee paid by the students and money from the Parent-Teacher Organization.

"We get an allotment from the school system each year for some supplies and instructor’s needs," she said. "We usually get from between $500 and $1,000 from the Troy Council on the Arts and Humanities. We greatly appreciate their support."

Barnes said she also applies for grants, and if approved can be up to $1,000.

A lack of funding does not seem to be a concern for Barnes who enjoys teaching her students and enjoys watching them as they create new things. She said she feels like her art students have an advantage that students who don’t take art miss.

"They have a different perspective on the world," Barnes said. "They see beauty when they look at something as simple as a tree. When they see a cityscape, now that they have studied perspectives, they can see what the architect saw. Other students can’t see that. Art students can see the way colors compliment each other and the way shapes interact. They appreciate it, and I wish all student could."