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Drama teacher Dawn Moretz wins NCAE Sanford Award

Dawn Moretz was recently awarded the North Carolina Association of Educators’ (NCAE) Terry Sanford Award for Creativity and Innovation in Teaching and Administration.

(Story reprinted with permission from the Enquirer Journal)

Dawn Moretz, a drama teacher at Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts in Union County, is the winner of the North Carolina Association of Educators’ (NCAE) Terry Sanford Award for Creativity and Innovation in Teaching and Administration. Considered as one of the Association’s most celebrated citation, the award was created in honor of former governor Terry Sanford to recognize contributions to public education.

The theme of this year’s award is “Empowering Students to Think Globally and Act Locally.” Applicants were asked to submit work that showcases lessons on the impact of their actions on both their individual communities and the world.

Moretz was recognized for her winning project, “Winter Tales of Gratitude,” which focused on themes of generosity and gratitude among three different cultures – Japan, Russia and Africa. The production was a collaborative effort composed of the Essentials Team (Moretz and colleagues who teach art, music, dance, physical education and technology). The result was an integrated play produced by the fifth-grade class and performed before the entire student body.

“The emphasis of the play was to take students of any level of ability from where they were and help them grow in a specific area of production,” Moretz said. “I took a group of 20 students, many of whom had never participated in a formal production, and coached them from initial read-through to final curtain call. I am proud of what the students accomplished working cooperatively with a shared purpose. The deep camaraderie and mutual respect fostered between the students will benefit them as they continue to work in groups the remainder of the year.”

A lesson in giving was also part of the project, with students kicking off the BHESA Attitude of Gratitude Heifer International fund-raiser. The school-wide campaign collected more than $500 for Heifer International, an organization dedicated to ending the cycle of hunger and poverty around the world. Donations help Heifer provide livestock and training to some of the most underserved communities around the world.

“I am honored that Ms. Moretz organized the Winter Tales performance and sponsored a fund-raiser to empower our campus to think globally and to realize that our customs, celebrations and traditions are not all the same,” wrote one of her colleagues. “The project exemplifies an outstanding example of an educator who promotes a global impact on students and the entire community.”

Moretz was presented a $1,000 prize and plaque at the annual NCAE Awards Banquet on Thursday, March 22, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Winston-Salem. The banquet is part of the Association’s state convention activities, held March 22-24 at the Benton Convention Center.

Written by: Special contribution to the Enquirer Journal
Posted: Apr 04, 2012 by Don Mace

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