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2017-18 Fine Art Award Winners: Mary Nelson and Molly Nixon

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

Given for the first time during the 2009-10 school year, the criteria for the two awards is similar. The recipients must be actively involved in IESA Speech. 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 for over eight years of coaching. For the Class Act Award winner, the contributions are from someone involved with Speech for at least 3 and not more than 8 years of coaching.

Mary Nelson, who has been teaching at Dunlap Middle School for 33 years, and who has coached the speech team for 16 years, is the 2017 Distinguished Service Award winner. Mrs. Nelson holds high expectations for the speech students at Dunlap Middle School. She views speech as a way for students to build confidence and feeling of belonging. Students are challenged to embrace their characters and communicate that through their performance. Mary has served on the Speech Advisory Committee and has been a presenter at many Fall Workshops. Her dedication and leadership will be dearly missed with her retirement.

Molly Nixon, a teacher and music director at Epiphany Catholic School in Normal for the past eight years, and a speech coach the past three years, is the 2017 Class Act Award winner. As the speech coach at Epiphany, Molly has been instrumental in creating a program that teaches the value of the activity and the qualities that it can bring out of a student. Molly's passionate promotion of the Fine Arts has contributed to an explosion of participation within Speech and Music. The contributions she has made to the Fine Arts department have truly enhanced the Epiphany community.

Congratulations to Mary Nelson and Molly Nixon.

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