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2011 Fine Art Award Winners: Cheryl Horne, Stephanie Mencel, Liz Martin, and Abigail Houser

The "go getters" who earned the Fine Art recognition awards -- the Distinguished Service Award and the Class Act Award -- are four teacher-coaches who have set the bar high.

This is only the second year for the presentation of these awards. The criteria for the two awards are similar. The recipients must be actively involved in IESA Speech or Music. The recipients must demonstrate the ability to develop and promote standards of good performance practices, integrity and life skills within their students. The contributions of both award winners must have positively impacted students and the school community.

For the Distinguished Service Award winner, the contributions must be significant and/or long term for someone involved with Speech or Music for over eight years of teaching and coaching. For the Class Act Award winner, the contributions are from someone involved with Speech/Music for at least 3 and not more than 8 years of teaching and coaching.

Cheryl Horne, who teaches 5th grade at Cerro Gordo Middle School for 33 years, and who coached the speech team for 31 years, is the 2011 Distinguished Service Award winner. A former member of the IESA Speech Advisory Committee, she has been a presenter at the annual Fall Speech Workshops. Cheryl has served as the IESA Representative at contests and judged for many years. She has written or arranged several performance scripts. Students of all ability levels are encouraged to participate in her Speech program. Cheryl has consistently promoted the value of participation in Speech on her student's self-confidence far beyond the contest experience.

Stephanie Mencel has been a K-8 music and band teacher at La Harpe Schools for 13 years. She is the 2011 Distinguished Service Award winner. A former member of the IESA Music Advisory Committee, she was instrumental in bringing back the Fall Music Workshop in 2010. Additionally, Stephanie has hosted many IESA Solo & Ensemble contests throughout the years; providing students with an outstanding music competition. As a teacher, Stephanie treats all her students with dignity and respect and encourages her students to continue with music long after their schooling is complete. Stephanie is a strong promoter of music education and the impact it has on all her students.

Liz Martin, a language arts teacher at Crescent City Grade School for the past nine years, and a speech coach the past nine years, is the 2011 Class Act Award winner. Currently head speech coach at Crescent City, she begun a process in which she includes speech in the curricular components of her classroom, as well as encouraging other classroom teachers to include performance aspects in their classes. A strong promoter of the speech team and how it represents the school, she models what she coaches in the classroom. She makes a strong connection with the students and that creates interest in the speech program.

Abigail Houser, the 5th-8th grade Director of Bands at Mayo Middle School in Paris for the past four years and this year's Class Act Award winner. Abbey is highly respected by her community in Paris and she is focused and dedicated to music education. In her four years at Paris, Abbey has organized field trips for her music students to expose them to all different types of music and her pep bands have been selected to perform at the IESA State Basketball Finals multiple years. Abbey's expectations are high for her students and her ability to connect with them makes her a strong promoter of music education in her school and community.

Congratulations to all the recipients.

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