A fifth grade student at Barwell Road Elementary School in Raleigh is the definition of what it means to be a well-rounded student. Sarhtee Kaw was born in Thailand and spent his first few years in a refugee camp before eventually moving to the United States when he was six. At that time, Sarhtee didn’t speak English, but it didn’t take him long to learn the language.
“Sarhtee has been pretty much firing on all cylinders academically,” said Bryan Allyn, Sarhtee’s teacher at Barwell Road Elementary. “He's very, very smart.” Sarhtee has most recently tried his hand at art. One of his paintings of a Ferris wheel has been displayed all over North Carolina. But Sarhtee remains humble about how good he really is. “I did pretty good,” Sarhtee said. But all his hard work didn’t come cheap. “I had to bribe him with some pizza, but he came in on his track-out days to work on this,” said Allyn. “And he also gave up quite a bit of recess,” Allyn added. But Sarhtee doesn't mind all the hard work; he says it’s worth it. It also helps that he has a lot of support from his teachers and classmates.
“They ask me like, 'is it gonna be on the news?' and stuff and they congratulate me when they see it and say how good it is,” Sarhtee said. And if academics and the arts weren’t enough, Sarhtee also loves to play football. “He does great in just about everything that he does. I'm pretty confident that that little man over there is gonna be the future of America someday,” said Allyn.
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Last year, I entered some student artwork into a contest sponsored by the Raleigh Historical Development Commission. The RHDC was celebrating their 50th anniversary, and asked students from all over Wake County (kindergarten through 12th grade) to submit a work of art that represented their favorite building in Raleigh. Two of our students won ribbons in this competition (including the “Best in Show” award), and the curator at Marbles was very impressed with our school's artwork. At the awards ceremony, she approached me and asked if I would be interested doing an exclusive show at the museum.
After collecting numerous pieces at various grade levels, I have compiled just about 40 different works of art completed by over 75 students. This show is now on display at the Marbles Kids Museum from January 6, 2014 until March 2, 2014. The artists whose work is on display will receive special passes for free admission to the museum as well as their families.
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Sarhtee received his prize and certificate for the award winning painting that he submitted to the North Carolina State Fair in October. His painting was given the Jerry's Artarama Outstanding Student Award. He looks forward to taking advantage of the holiday sales to buy art supplies with his winnings!
Sarhtee's acrylic painting of a Ferris wheel was also featured at the North Carolina Art Educators Association Conference (NCAEA) in November, will be on display at the Barwell Road Elementary exclusive art show at the Marbles Kid's Museum in January, and also can be seen at the Gifts of Gold art show in March.
Many of our students rely on the generous donations of the people over at the Wake Inter Faith Food Shuttle who provide backpacks to students to take home with them over the weekend. These bags are full of nutritious, and kid-friendly canned foods. Our school social worker Michelle Lesniak organizes a food drive each year to gather donations of canned goods for the holidays. This year I am helping her out in a creative way to boost donations.
As you may know, this month is “No Shave November”. As an incentive for the kids to bring as many cans as possible, we are offering a contest. The class that brings in the most food between this week and December 6th gets to design Mr. Allyn’s beard! Between November 1st and then, I will not shave my beard. The class with the most cans gets to choose from the beard styles pictured above. I will then wear the selected beard for one whole week!
Sessions begin November 12, 2013
Goals for this school year are to include:
Bryan Allyn, Marc Hardy, Antonio Davis, Brian Regis, and Dwayne Matthews
This week I had the honor of being in attendance for a recognition ceremony for one of my students. His classroom teacher wrote this explanation as to why this young man was deserving of the prestigious Wake County Student Spotlight Award:
“Sarhtee is an energetic and an eager-to-learn student. Sarhtee had to overcome his native language of Mandarin when moving to North Carolina a few years ago from Thailand. In 4th grade, when Sar Htee didn’t have homework, he would get disappointed and ask the teacher to assign him homework, even on weekends and over track-out. He absolutely loves to be challenged and is willing and eager to try anything new and challenging. His strengths are in math and science, but also does very well in reading and writing. Sarhtee also has an artistic talent and his artwork is one of only 15 pieces being chosen to represent Wake County art students (K-12) next week at the North Carolina Art Educators Association Conference (NCAEA).”
Good job Sarhtee, we're all proud of you!
This year's entries for the North Carolina State Fair are now on display! These works will be on display from 10/17/13 until 10/27/13 in the Kerr Scott Building at the North Carolina State Fair grounds.
I am very proud of Liam, Talen, Kiera, Sarhtee, Charly, and Janette for their dedication and hard work. These students came to school on their vacation days (Barwell is a year-round school), gave up precious recess hours, and excelled in their classrooms so they could be excused by their teachers to work in the art room. Some of these pieces took up to four months to complete!
Sarhtee's painting (the Ferris wheel) received the Jerry Artarama Outstanding Student Award!
Barwell Elementary Honors Sandy Hook with Golden Tribute
by Keally Miller, Editor Garner News
For the second year in a row, Barwell Road Renaissance Elementary School has made it into one of the coveted 29 spots for Wake County schools to participate in Pieces of Gold, an annual art showcase where singers, dancers and other artists come together to display the best of the best in Wake County.
Barwell Elementary is a Title I, year round school located in Raleigh, yet most of the students yield from Garner. The school is one of four Renaissance schools in Raleigh that receives federal money because of low performance on standardized testing. Barwell also has a strong focus on promoting technology and boasts a lot of it in the classroom. In addition, class sizes at Barwell remain low to promote a better learning environment for students; on average fifth grade classes have about 17 students per teacher.
The Pieces of Gold show celebrates its 30th year showcasing talent from the very best in Wake County. The annual performance is hosted by the Wake Education Partnership and this year was held at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts. The ticket sales for the event went to benefit the Wake Education Partnership’s Teacher Leadership Grants program and building leaders intiative.
On March 13, Barwell performed a tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary using six Michael Jackson hits. Fifth grade students sang, danced and even rapped to “Thriller,” “Beat It,” “ABC,” “Man in the Mirror,” “We are the World” and “Heal the World.”
Students for the musical number were chosen based on a choral audition held in August. Areas evaluated were musical ability and preparedness, as well as behavior and leadership skills. In addition, five art students painted a portrait of Michael Jackson onto multiple canvases that were assembled during the performance. Those students were Joselin Linares-Romero, Selina Ifidon, Nivo Fnu, Kyra Davis and Jim A.
The Sandy Hook portion of the performance was not added until after the school’s winter break when the tragedy occurred. Principal Sandy Barefoot asked what could Barwell do to heal the community after Sandy Hook. This is the first year Barwell’s performance included teachers. In the finale of the performance teachers walked out behind the students to form a chorus line – they even donned long royal blue robes. The students and teachers joined together to sing “Heal the World,” while a screen listed the Sandy Hook victims’ names in the shape of a heart and inside were lyrics from Jackson’s song.
First grade teacher Hannah Stover has taught at Barwell for six years and stated, “It makes me very proud to see students I taught in first grade [now in fifth grade] in such a prestigious program.” She also spoke of the performance coordinator, Amanda Watson Bailey, and her profound difference in the students’ lives. “Without the arts I don’t think the kids would be where they are today,” said Stover.
Bailey has taught at Barwell for two years as a music specialist and is probably better known for once being Miss Garner 2008 and Miss North Carolina 2008. Bailey also won the Diane Kent Parker First Year Teaching Award, given to teachers who demonstrate significant professional success during their first year teaching. “Being chosen to be part of Pieces of Gold for our second year in a row is extremely exciting and humbling for me as a beginning music teacher. Last year was Barwell’s first time being chosen for this event and to be selected again this year was extremely rewarding for our students and school community,” said Bailey. She also commented on why it is so special that Barwell made the showcase. “Most of our students do not have the opportunity to participate in outside activities in the arts so being able to perform on such a prestigious stage was a huge honor for every student who performed Wednesday night,” said Bailey.
Second grade teacher LeAnn Roelofs thought it was important to remember, “Not just the teachers were affected; the students were affected too [by the Sandy Hook tragedy].”
Ten year old Carlos Cortes was one of Barwell’s performers this year. He sported a flashy jewel-encrusted tie with his ensemble and was quick to show off his MJ dance moves after the dress rehearsal Tuesday. After asked if he could dance like Michael Jackson, Cortes quickly popped his body up on the toes of his shoes with one hand on the brim of an imaginary hat and one hand on his belt he yelled out, “Hee-Hee!” in a familiar Jackson style. Cortes found time to answer a few questions between dance moves. “[The performance] was fun. I get to sing a lot of songs,” said Cortes. He also boasted that he has been a Michael Jackson fan for as long as he can remember. Cortes added that he “feels sad for all of the families” affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Janeva Williams, 10, sings, dances and raps in this years’ performance. Williams said she did feel a bit of nerves, because “I’m right in front.” Williams also remarked on the recent Sandy Hook tragedy, “It makes me feel good [that we honored them], because they were wonderful students. I hope nothing bad happens like that again.”
Bailey said the crowd at Wednesday night’s performance cheered loudly for the student’s tribute to Sandy Hook. “The students did a phenomenal job with their pitch, volume, choreography and stage presence. We received a roaring applause from the audience even before the production was over,” said Bailey.
Barwell Road Renaissance Elementary students and mentors from the Helping Hands program are endeavoring to “Be the Person We Want to Be” with a trip to NC State and Shaw University.
Third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders visited NC State this week to consider how school success and academic achievement enhance future career and vocational opportunities.
On this field trip, students received a tour of various areas of NC State and Shaw campuses. The trip inspired students to think about attending college and to picture themselves as college students.