Congratulations to Perry Ewell for being recognized as the Outstanding Arts & Education Educator in Utah by the Artistic Resource for Teachers and Students, Inc. (A.R.T.S.).
Governor Gary R. Herbert recognized that the A.R.T.S. has fostered the development of cultural studies and fine arts education in our public schools as a collaborative effort between educators, businesses, government, and community and fine arts organizations.
Mr. Ewell’s nomination read in part:
“Perry Ewell is a fifth-grade classroom teacher at Spring Lake Elementary in Payson, UT. He is a strong advocate of arts integration, and brings his unique background in community theatre to his classroom in very meaningful ways. He produces and directs an annual performance of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with his fifth-graders that achieves phenomenal success: both artistically and educationally. Mr. Ewell noted that this ‘beloved tale’ was perfect for providing the students with a memorable and meaningful Christmas experience while they learned elements of the Drama curriculum. In reflection, students were surprised by their drive to make this a worthwhile presentation. They felt the thrill of being in their rolls to the extent that it was believable - even for them. The class also had a lot of fun with the staging, the sets, props, and costumes.
“The production, which draws interest from older students looking back, remembering their annual production under Mr. Ewell's direction, is an inspiration to fellow educators: showing just how meaningful, exciting and life-changing arts integration can be. Administrators, teachers, parents and student peers are amazed at the excellent and believable characterizations and the smooth and well-rehearsed production values. Students make the scene changes, run the prop tables and are responsible for costume changes and lighting in ways that demonstrate the value of drama in the classroom as a vehicle for critical thinking and cooperative learning.
“It is no surprise that Mr. Ewell was selected Spring Lake's Teacher of the Year in 2009-10. His passion for education shows in his statement: ‘From the time I was twelve, I've never desired to be in any profession as much as this one where I am able to make a difference daily in the lives of my students.’
“Mr. Ewell believes the responsibility of an educator is three-fold: ‘1) help students see their own potential and strive toward that capability, 2) foster responsible citizenship within our students, and 3) inspire the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the joy of growth and the increased ability to accomplish good.’
“Mr. Ewell’s application of drama, as both a valued art form, and as a technique for differentiated instruction, helps his students achieve all three of those worthy goals.Hats off to Perry Ewell for his successful efforts in integrating drama into his classroom and for making life-long memories with his students through the use of role-play and presentation of that holiday classic, A Christmas Carol!”