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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Donations brighten Thayer art program

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Donations brighten Thayer art program
When Liz Williams began teaching elementary art in Thayer last year, she had one sheet of paper per student.

This year, her supply locker is full enough that she can share some of her colored paper with teachers.

The Thayer School District didn't come up with extra funds. Instead, Williams encouraged her students to bring in "Box Tops for Education" labels.

The labels her students clipped earned $2,000 for the elementary art department, which Williams stretched as far as she could.

The room now has "real" pottery glaze, not a dull undercoating, Williams said.

The glaze brings the students' work to life, encouraging them to do their best when creating works of art.

In 1996, General Mills launched Box Tops for Education in California on Cheerios, Total and Lucky Charms cereals. Parents, students, school staff and community members simply cut the labels from packages, and drop them off at school.

"These are worth 10 cents apiece," Williams said of the labels already accumulating in the oversized envelope she keeps in her art room.

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Box Tops program has grown to include a host of other manufacturers' products, including Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Green Giant, Nestle, Juicy Juice, Ziploc, Hefty and Kimberly-Clark.

Besides glaze, Williams filled her storage cabinets with paint, glue and reams of colorful construction paper.

Williams' annual budget is $500, equal to about $1.50 per student.

Last year, Great Southern Bank of Thayer also donated money toward supplies.

On Oct. 26, Williams received another gift from the bank to enhance her art program -- an ELMO projector, costing about $1,500.

Donna Taylor, banking center manager, said the bank feels it is important to support the arts, as well as academic and athletic school programs.

Students who are involved in things such as choir, drama, cheerleading, sports and art clubs learn responsibility and creativity, Taylor said.

Last week, Taylor came to the school to see the projector the bank furnished. No bigger than a reading lamp, the projector can display artwork onto a screen or an interactive Smartboard.

Thayer Schools Superintendent Dan Chappell said students will no longer need to huddle in a circle as Williams instructs a new technique or creates a sketch. As Williams draws on paper, her work will be projected onto a screen so all in the room can see the finest pencil lines.

"The students can also see each other's work on the whiteboard with the projector," Williams said.

Williams, who most recently taught third grade before taking over the art department, said she is excited to begin using the projector as it will allow each student in the room to clearly see a sketch.

On the second floor of the elementary building, Williams' art room is about the size of two regular classrooms.

"I'm blessed to have a large room," Williams said.

Still, logistics can be an issue when teaching in a large room. The projector will make teaching art even more enjoyable, she said.

Williams also encourages the community to bring in Box Tops for Education labels to support the school, class or educational program of their choice.

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