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O.P. Earle celebrates American Education Week

O.P. Earle second graders in Susan Heimburger’s class presented a “reading concert,” combining poetry and song, during the school’s celebration of American Education Week Nov. 13-19. (photo submitted by Dawn Lynch)

Music, art and drama were the highlights during O.P. Earle Elementary School’s celebration of the 90th anniversary of American Education Week, Nov. 13-19.
American Education Week focuses on the nation’s commitment to students and educators. To seek ways to generate public support for education, the week was originated in 1919 by representatives of the National Education Association and American Legion. In 1921, the NEA Representative Assembly in Des Moines, Iowa, designated one week each year to spotlight education. In its resolution, the NEA called for: “An educational week … observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, O.P. Earle teachers, staff, students, administrators, community members, retired teachers, parents and members of the school’s PTO, were invited to join studio art students in an unveiling of their forged artwork at the new principal’s patio, a sculpture project entitled “A Tree for All Seasons.”
Students have been studying the heritage art form of blacksmithing with artist in residence Bill Crowell of Saluda Forge. The residency was funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation Mary F. Kessler fund. Assisting Crowell was Callie Barnes, a senior at Landrum High School and a former O.P. Earle student, who chose the blacksmithing experience as her senior project at LHS.
The principal’s patio is an extension of the principal’s art gallery, which showcases student artwork and pieces from the artist-in-residence program.
Led by Allison Allen, the honors chorus students performed musical selections.  Afterwards, Susan Heimburger’s second grade students gave a “reading concert,” combining poetry and song.
Family members joined O.P. Earle students on Wednesday, Nov. 16 for a Thanksgiving luncheon. The cafeteria was decorated with a bounty of student’s writing about things that make them thankful. The school’s Project E.C.H.O. (Everyone reading: Community-Home-OPE) gave away free books to parents and guests. Project E.C.H.O. is one way O.P. Earle places a variety of reading materials in the homes and hands of parents to encourage reading. Project E.C.H.O. provides free gently read materials from donations from teachers and staff.
The American Education week celebration ended on Friday with teachers and staff wearing shirts depicting their alma maters or favorite college team. Teachers and students engaged in classroom discussions concerning the importance of education and career choices.
“This week has been a wonderful opportunity for our school to integrate the arts literacy with community involvement,” said O.P. Earle Principal Nita High. “I would like to thank our PTO who has been a wonderful support throughout the week.”
– article submitted by Dawn Lynch