Testimonial #4: Justine Beirne, MA Philosophy Columbia University

A teacher that touched my life…..I have to say, that to choose one is an injustice as the English department of Vernon Township High School was really one of the best, in my opinion, in the entire world. However, if there is one person I remember it is James Walsh, my junior year high school English teacher who pushed me to explore the aesthetic theory used in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. He simply kept asking me to point to the place in the text that made me make the conclusions I was making about the literature. To this day, through two Master’s programs, an honor’s thesis, and more than 400 pages of academic writing I hear Mr. Walsh’s voice: “Go back to the text.” He made me feel like a proper academic. But he made me EARN it.

The arts are re-igniting my community by…. Looking at modernism and deconstruction is the only way to live in our new fast-paced global society peacefully. The avante garde, the new, the unusual, the Lady Gaga’s of the world who make us question the way we label an experience with a concept. The arts force us to question our human habit of labeling experiences as good or bad, and extends our empathy to those we otherwise would not understand. They are the only instrument for peace in a post-modern global culture.

Testimonial #3: Donald P. McGarry, Lead Software Systems Engineer for the MITRE Corporation

A teacher that touched my life…..
Arts education provides the opportunity for all walks of students to be able to explore their own strengths and weaknesses in an open and free environment. This type of open learning isn’t found in a traditional classroom setting, which allows students to take on greater challenges and responsibilities that they would be unable to explore in the traditional k-12 setting. These opportunities grow leadership, responsibility, and personal “ownership” organically and allow students of all levels to excel. These skills have aided me in my career as an engineer by giving me early exposure to task leadership, ownership, responsibility, group engagement, and has allowed me to incorporate an artistic component to my work.

The arts are re-igniting my community by….
Providing a needed cultural and social setting for students in the k-12 environment that is needed in education today. Each student in the education system needs to find their “niche” to grow into a responsible adult. Although not every student in a k-12 arts education program will go on to be a professional artist, many students from all walks find their “niche” in theater and arts education programs as an environment to engage with others, a common ground for learning and growing, as well as a social community to “fit in”. As programs such as arts education, music education, theater, and technology programs are cut, this eliminates this sense of community from these students and adds to the existing pool of students who “just don’t fit in”. This hampers their growth as young adults, and does the overall community a dis-service by not allowing them to grow and explore beyond the simple evaluation of “the three R’s”.

The First 100 Stories Campaign: Testimonial #2

Testimonial #2: Keith Johnston, co-founded the Creative Arts Team’s College/Adult Program 

My Uncle Calvin from Jamaica taught me how to play guitar and draw. He admonished me for my fear of speaking. “Being shy is selfish. God gave you a gift. If you don’t use it you’ll become a cosmic clogger. If you hold it to yourself you’re not allowing to speak your artistic gifts. Your artistic gifts is the voice of God.”
That’s what Uncle Calvin said and I never forgot it. It has become my mantra.



Let’s hear it from you: Teachers! Students! Graduates! Parents! Artists! 

Click here to submit your testimonial.


The First 100 Stories Campaign: A Testimonial from Edie Falco!

Frances McGarry, Edie Falco and Eve Terry
“Fran McGarry and Eve Terry, perhaps unbeknownst to them, played a huge part in my path to my present career. Though I was just a schoolkid, they treated me like an artist; made me believe I had something unique to offer. They helped grow my confidence which I believe can take you anywhere you want to go. I am so grateful.”

– Edie Falco
July 11, 2011
Let’s hear it from you: Teachers! Students! Graduates! Parents! Artists! 
Click here to submit your testimonial.