Stunning Success

By Shannon Boatwright

For the 2017-2018 school year, this phrase, “stunning success”, has become my new favorite…

Stunning

adjective

extremely impressive or attractive.

synonyms remarkable, extraordinary, staggering, incredible, outstanding, amazing, astonishing, marvelous, phenomenal, splendid;

 

This phrase, “stunning success” was used to describe one of my productions with my honors students this past year – and by the playwright herself, no less.

My 2017-18 school year has been one of my busiest – which I say that every year and each year I seem to top myself in the busy department. But this past year, I can with confidence say, was a remarkable, outstanding, marvelous, impressive year! Certainly stunning!

I had my heaviest workload yet as a teacher/director responsible for the success of three big productions throughout the school year.  One of the productions being the school district musical. This was a huge undertaking that required an enormous amount of time and effort, and my first time ever directing a school district wide production. Needless to say, it was a major relief when myself, my production team and cast’s hard work paid off with, yes, a stunning success.

I produced and directed one of largest, most successful 8th grade honors drama performances, gaining recognition from the playwright, Lindsay Price with the reputable, drama resource company, Theatrefolk.

Stunning Success: Shuddersome: Tales of Poe

And using the same fabulous resource of Theatrefolk, I produced and directed another play from their catalogue by playwright Lindsay Price, called Box, for the 7th grade honors drama end of the year production. It too was a surprising, stunning success.

pic 1To know that you were able to inspire audiences and talented, young individuals, is a real gift. I’m exhausted from having such an overwhelming, busy school year, but I am ever grateful for the hard work and dedication having paid off.  So I’ve decided that the phrase, “Stunning Success”, is my 2017-2018 mantra that I plan to continue grasping ahold of as I enter new phases of my life. I hope that I can continue doing extraordinary things, making remarkable differences in others lives and continue to create stunning successes!

And I’d like to take the moment here to remind you and myself, that we have the ability to be stunning in everything that we do. We don’t have to accomplish major things, achieve big awards or direct huge shows to be stunning. We can be stunning in the little things as well! So my challenge to myself and to everyone is to do your best to be stunning – find ways to be extraordinary, marvelous, outstanding and amazing on every level. Whether with a smile or act of kindness to a stranger, in the special time with family & friends, in taking steps to take care of yourself…infuse a dose of fabulousness in all that you do. I am certain it will make your life more splendid. Stunning, in fact. 😉

The Beauty of Arts Integration

By: Shannon Shull

I recently have had the honor of teaching and leading arts integration at Batesburg-Leesville Elementary School. Can I just say – what an amazing experience and opportunity! Let me define “arts integration” for you…

Arts integration is the collaboration between the arts and other academic content areas resulting in a richer, more complete whole that fosters deep, connected, personal learning in both areas simultaneously.

Creating Tableaus with Teachers

I am what they call a “teaching artist.”  I am a trained performer, with a focus of acting and dance, that infuses the arts into regular school curriculums. I get great joy from being a teaching artist!

Me doing dance immersion with fellow teaching artists

So how does arts integration help me? Understanding arts integration helps round out my artistry.  Knowing how to integrate the arts and actually engaging in integrating the arts only enhances my pool of talents and allows me the precious opportunity to share my passions on a very unique level.  As a performer, you seek to entertain and gain great joy from entertaining — add teacher to that equation and you’re knighted with this priceless opportunity to let the arts lead the way alongside education, enriching everyone’s lives.  To me, arts integration means tapping into a student’s imagination and engaging them so much into the subject and art form, that they don’t recognize how very much they’re learning — due to the fact that they’re having so much fun!

Last summer I had the honor of training at Greenville County, Smart Arts, and Metropolitan Arts Council sponsored training institutes and I participated in Kennedy Center’s Artists as Educators Seminars. It was a total thrill for me! I seriously loved every bit of it. Working with school teachers and other teaching artists opened my mind and broadened my teaching horizons. Sounds cheesy I know, but hey, it’s my thing!

Dance Immersion

Amazing things happen and great knowledge is attained when the arts help to bring school subjects to life. All that being said, I hope those of you who read this will also be supporters of arts integration and encourage your local schools to take advantage of the huge benefits the arts can have on education.  It’s a beautiful thing to see a child grasp the knowledge and have so much fun learning!