Thanks to Teachers: Stephanie Evans

Thanks to Teachers: Stephanie Evans

"We, as a class, are designing an ornament, and we will pick a class winner," Stephanie Evans tells her 4th grade art class at Pleasant Gardens Elementary School. The winning class gets a visit from congressman Mark Meadows and their school flag flown over the nation's capitol. "I think it's great, because the whole class gets to have something out of it if one of us wins,' says student Aubrey Garrett.

As the students create Christmas ornaments on seashells, the 4th year art teacher reflects on a career spent in other parts of the school district, a break to work in healthcare, then a return to a place Evans says feels like home. "My children went to this school. I actually attended this school," says Evans. Evans, who says she's always been a creative type, says art levels the playing field in many ways. "The one thing about art that is so great is you walk in that door, art doesn't discriminate. it doesn't have boundaries. There's no race. there's no gender. There's no economic differences," says Evans.

Evans has seen the benefits. "I've seen, particularly a couple of different students that I know struggle academically. But in here, it's their moment to shine." At least one of Evans' young students sees a future career. "When I first discovered art, I was like, it would be really cool to draw and design video games," says student Jared Helms. The class ends with the budding artists hugging their much loved teacher. "This may be the only place they get that confidence or that boost they need in life," says Stephanie Evans.

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