PUBLISHED: 5:55 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Glacier Valley Elementary School wins Kennedy Center Creative Ticket National Schools of Distinction Award
Glacier Valley Elementary School was named one of five national recipients of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts "Creative Ticket National Schools of Distinction Award."

The award recognizes schools that have done an outstanding job of making the arts an essential part of student education. Glacier Valley's "Art is Elementary Program" focuses on the arts as a way to engage, motivate and extend learning into other subject areas.

"Glacier Valley is the first school in Alaska to receive this award," said Schools Superintendent Peggy Cowan. "We are so proud of their accomplishment."

The panel of judges for the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network cited the "commitment of Glacier Valley students to before-school instrumental music classes, the financial support of the community through classroom sponsorships, and the clear evidence of arts integration" in all areas of the school as among the impressive features of the Glacier Valley program.

"We are excited and honored to have received this award," said Glacier Valley Elementary School Principal Ted Wilson.

"This is a tribute to all of the students, parents, teachers and staff at our school who have worked so hard to integrate the arts into all aspects of our educational program," Wilson said.

Photo by Abby LaForce
  Lorrie Heagy, left, instructs Glacier Valley students during a ceremony in celebration of the school receiving the Kennedy Center Creative Ticket National Schools of Distinction Award.
"One of the exciting parts of receiving this award is that our students are invited to perform the play "The Tides and the Tempest" at the Kennedy Center in March," Wilson said. The play, written by Juneau playwright Dave Hunsaker, intertwines Shakespeare's "The Tempest" with the traditional Tlingit story of Naatsilanei's creation of Keet Shagoon, the killer whale.

Local artist Ryan Conarro directed the original production and will direct a new group of Glacier Valley students who will perform at the Kennedy Center.

"We are a little daunted by the task of raising money to send our students to perform in Washington, D.C.," Wilson said, "but we know that with the support of and in partnership with the community, we will be able to provide our students with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Glacier Valley was nominated for the Kennedy Center award by the Alaska Arts Education Consortium, who presented a plaque to the school on behalf of the Kennedy Center at a community celebration Oct. 17.