Pike County art teacher honored

Published 11:20 pm Thursday, November 28, 2013

Carrie Rigdon, art teacher at Pike County High School, is the recipient of the Alabama Art Education Association’s New Professor of Art Education Award for 2013.

Rigdon, who started her teaching career at PCHS as a substitute art teacher, said that she is honored to receive the award and greatly appreciates the recognition.

The award is confirmation that she doing what she is supposed to be doing and she is where she is supposed to be.

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“I love art. I love teaching and I love it here,” Rigdon said. “I could not have asked for a better school for my first teaching experience than Pike County High School. I couldn’t be happier.”

Rigdon is in her second year at PCHS and said that she has really begun to settle in and PCHS feels like home.

Rigdon is originally from Florala. She is a graduate of Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida and Troy University.

She has always been drawn to creative endeavors.

“I’ve always enjoy creative writing and art,” she said. “But, I wasn’t sure that it was what I should do with my life. I took a year off from college to decide what should do. I realized that I have real passion for art and that I should share that passion. I found myself thinking so hard about my future that I was thinking out loud.”

What Ridgon “heard,” was that the way to share her passion for art was in the field of education.

At Troy University, Larry Percy became Rigdon’s mentor. He inspired her and motivated her. He gave her the confidence that she needed to move ahead with her plans.

“I decided that, if he believed in me, I should believe in myself,” Rigdon said.

Rigdon’s interest in art is primarily clay, painting and drawing. She has a clay piece that is in a juried exhibition.

“I do love clay,” she said. “I love to form pieces and to see how they are almost transformed when they are glazed. It’s amazing.

“It’s important for an artist to develop their own style. I think I have found my style with clay. I’m still developing my own style in painting and drawing. “

Rigdon considers herself a realist.

“I love detail,” she said. “My work is so detailed that I almost mimic a photograph. That will probably be ‘my’ style when it is fully developed.”

Rigdon said that, while art is her passion, teaching is her calling.

However, she accepts the fact that art is not always the class of choice for some students.

“Sometimes, students take art because they think it will be an easy credit,” she said. “Some students take art because it’s all they could get at that block of time. Then, there are those who take art because they have a love for it. But, no matter why a student takes my class, it’s up to me to make sure that they get something from the class.”

Ridgon said that encouragement makes all the difference.

“Students will say, ‘I can’t do it. I can’t draw.’ And my greatest reward as a teacher is when on of those students comes back and says, ‘Thank you for teaching me to draw.’”

Rigdon said that not all students will become professional or teaching artists, but they can all develop an appreciation for art.

“My goal with all of my students is for them to develop a positive attitude toward art and an appreciation for it,” she said. “I want to give my students every possible opportunity to express themselves through art and to understand and appreciate all forms of art.

“That’s my job and that’s my passion.”