TLC Celebrates Academics & Arts Weeks

In a whirl-wind of activity, students at the local charter school created art, music, swung hammers, got dirty, experimented and stretched their minds, senses and creativity to its limits last week. For the past five years, The Learning Center! Charter School has held a week-long event celebrating Academics and Arts. During the week of April 30th students from pre-K to middle school participated in hands-on projects with a nature-related theme, covering a wide spectrum of academics and visual, written and musical arts.

The annual event is supported in part by The Jackie Ward Foundation to promote Academics and the Arts at the school and promote interaction with and opportunities for the community. A week-long arts fair and competition was held in the Dining Commons where the walls were covered with students work in a variety of medium and technique.

A highlight of the week included a spring concert by The Valley River Ringers who delighted the audience with a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” Social media director for the school, Dana Bolyard posted to the school’s blog, “The kids haven’t stopped talking about it all week!” There is a video of the performance at

Several artists and community members visited the school during the week. Award winning artist Jo Kilmer gave a workshop to 4th graders on “Natural Tree Forms.” They worked on building a rustic, artistic entrance for the school’s outdoor learning center garden area. The project was tied-in to the 4th grade trip to GMREC (Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center) earlier in the year for the program “All About Trees.”

Amanda Kanack, administrative and outreach coordinator for the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition worked with 7th graders on an aquatic animals and creek ecology component that included an art project.

Artist in Residence, Jeff Menzer spent the week at the school, working with 3rd graders on “Sensational Snakes.” Menzer, a self proclaimed “Re-Artist” with a passion for finding and re-using the durable discards of our society enjoys the process of making things, engaging his hands and heart in art everyday.

A spring chorus, directed by teacher Judy Coleman provided wonderful music and was held at The Henn Theater who graciously provided a venue for the concert.

On Friday, the activities wrapped up with a recognition ceremony that honored the school’s Poetry and Essay contest and hosted the winners of the Cherokee County Middle School

Writing Competition. This was the school’s fourth year hosting a county-wide writing contest and the special quest speaker was poet, Mary Ricketson. Ricketson and Bob Grove were judges in the competition.

“It’s important that we celebrate these different forms of art.” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre. “Visual, music, and written arts show students how closely art is tied in to every subject they learn as well as life, in general.”

The effort continues as the school strives to promote Academics and Arts with an upcoming production of “Princess and the Pea” by the schools drama department. Proceeds benefit The Jackie Ward Foundation for Academics and Arts. Tickets are available at the school or at the door of the Henn Theater the night of the event: Tuesday May 29 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students. Call 828.835.7240 or Visit our blog: or FaceBook: TLCGrowZonePage. Email us at


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