13th national show opens
in the Grand Canyon state
TEMPE, Arizona—Helen Keller’s words: “The best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the
heart” will prove to be a perfect match at the Center For Educational
Excellence during Art-to-Art’s Annual National Show from April 8-15 in
“We are anticipating a minimum of 300 student works from 35 states,” said
Jessyca Tierney-Smith, AA’s 13th national director.
CEE is a public state-funded charter school which was founded in 1997 by
Stacey Cochran. “We have nearly 250 students in K-8 plus a private
pre-school here,” said Principal Cochran.
Arizona is the home of one-third of the country’s charter schools, and
serves as a model for more than 20 other states. CEE has been ranked
fourth by the overall quality of education in the state.
CEE specializes in providing individualized education for all students by
giving the right environment that fosters personal growth.
In the last five years, CCE students have received multiple awards for
their hands-on participation in community projects. “This year we have a
school wide study of the United Nations.” said Cochran.
Last October, the students studied the Caribbean economy, culture, and
geography. To add more realism to their UN studies, the students were
exposed to live performances of the Caribbean steel drum, Flamenco
Dancers, Irish Cloggers, Russian Singers, and an American Folkdance group.
There are many other projects that go on year around. Students did
in-school study on the aging population before visiting area senior
centers. Once there, the students read books to the residents, played
balloon volleyball, and helped bring some one-on-one attention.
“A lot of them have grandparents ...so they were able to relate,” added
the student’s teacher, Jessyca Tierney-Smith.
Another past project netted five students from CCE first place in an
essay/drawing competition sponsored by Tempe’s Tribune and Sea of Green
Top prizes were given to Luke Hellmuth, Kaleena Trembly, Michael Noth,
Shelby Tuerr, and Andrea Davis who were students of Mrs. Tierney-Smith and
Also, CCE has continued its volunteer programs when the school
incorporated it in its educational framework when it opened its doors five
Some of these projects include the collection of food and deliver to
homeless shelters which give them more of a personal exposure to the less
fortunate. Also, they prepare mailings of audio tapes for the blind and
sight disabled for the Sun Sounds of Arizona.
According to teacher Anne Marshall, “We try to make every experience a
learning experience, especially when they’re doing volunteer work.”
CEE is located Tempe, the sixth largest city in Arizona, and in the center
of the Phoenix metropolitan market has been named an “All American City”
for its quality of services.
Art-to-Art: Building Friendships Through Art was founded in 1986 by
Patricia Rayman, a 30-year plus teacher in the Delphos, Ohio city school
system. Her objective is “to help children learn that, all over the
country, we have more similarities than differences.”
The program is designed to accentuate the K-12 learning in Geography,
History, English, Reading, Writing, and Communications through Human
Relations with Art Education as the leading indicator to measure the
Art-to-Art is comprised of two main parts. The first part is where the
children and teachers participate in a one-on-one exchange with up to five
different schools from around the country. These rotating curriculum
projects begin in January and ends in May. However, the second
part—being—–the annual national show features other national and local
students’ work while others are still making its rounds.
Another on-going aspect of the program is the Quilt Project. The students
depict their area by designing their square with the historical or
cultural information using the established symbols or theme about their
Assisting Jessyca Tierney-Smith in the 13th Annual National Show are CEE
teachers, Tracy Whitaker and Barb Youkers. The official opening is
Tuesday, April 9.