Central High’s Bendy and Burchett impact students with art

Susan EspirituFountain City, Our Town Youth

Update: Story edited to reflect correct spelling of Cheryl Burchett

Art can refer to the creation of something beautiful or meaningful including the resulting product of that creation. Art comes in so many forms from the visual arts to the performing arts and has been valued by most school leaders as playing a crucial role in the student’s academic, social and emotional development.

Knox Central High School is no exception and assistant principal J.D. Lambert connected me with his two outstanding visual art teachers, Maggie Bendy and Cheryl Burchett, who are engaging students in opportunities beyond the scope of the ordinary.

First, this spring, Maggie Bendy initiated a Ceramics Club which has grown to 11 members. The club meets weekly after school and students learn hand-building and wheel throwing techniques. She has introduced students to opportunities for taking future ceramics classes in college, local community clay studios, and art as a career pathway. Several of the students are considering teaching as a career and incorporating art into their futures.

Avenlea Alford

The pottery wheels were purchased because the teachers competed in a grant process, winning $15,000 from the Van’s Shoe Competition and also received other outside donations.

Chalk Walk Raccoon: 3rd Place in High School Category

A second group of arts students, the Central High School National Art Honors Society, recently competed in the “High School Group Category” at the Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk. Students worked on their chalk art for 5 hours on Saturday, April 1. The students drew a raccoon eating a bowl of soup. Cheryl Burchett said, “The fun part of the Chalk Walk is that a lot of decisions just happen on site, like deciding what kind of soup, how big the raccoon should be, if we can see anything in the background, and what should the raccoon do with his hands while eating soup.” The students won third place and a $50 prize for their efforts!

It is going to be fun to see what these young artists create for our pleasure in the future.

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