NBTHS art teacher honored for making magic in the classroom

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By Jennifer Amato

 

NORTH BRUNSWICK — Since art can be considered magical, it is fitting that an art teacher from North Brunswick Township High School (NBTHS) has been honored as a Teacher Who Makes Magic!

Each year, Greater Media’s radio station, Magic 98.3, and the New Jersey Education Association celebrate the valuable role educators play in children’s lives.

Valerie Grollman had her story read on Jan. 8 on the Magic Morning Show.

“Having not had this level of recognition come my way before, I have been doing a lot of soul searching. I think I’ve reached the conclusion, that if these awards help others to see the intrinsic importance of art instead of viewing it as an something extraneous, then that will be the greatest reward of all,” she said.

Grollman is in her 36th year as a member of the North Brunswick School District, having graduated from Rutgers University/Douglass College and starting her career in North Brunswick on Dec. 1, 1980, as a Linwood Middle School teacher before moving to NBTHS.

She currently teaches general art classes which include painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic design and art history.

“Throughout my career, I have tried to use art as a vehicle for teaching my students what will be important in their lives. Among other things those would include the ability to work respectfully and collaboratively with others to support and help each other to reach worthy goals; the ability to be disciplined enough to use their full potential and find new strength in the face of set-backs; and to be able to ‘think outside the box’ to find ways to apply original ideas, and by doing so, develop as a unique individual so they can be seen as successful by themselves as well as others.

“In short, arts classes are where students go to find out what it means to be human,” she said.

In addition, Grollman is the only Middlesex County teacher to receive the 2015 Exemplary Secondary Educator award from the New Jersey State Department of Education, and has just been awarded a mini-grant of $250 by the NBTHS Parent-Teacher-Student Organization to hold a Maker Faire science fair/county fair event at the school.

“It has truly be an amazing year for me,” she said.

She credited her success to the support of her friends, colleagues, supervisors and especially her high school principal, Pete Clark, “who has inspired me to believe in myself and to keep reaching higher.”

For the Teacher Who Makes Magic! contest, one teacher per week will be recognized on air around 9:20 a.m. each Friday from Jan. 8 through April 1.

The awards banquet for all of this year’s honorees will be held April 20 at the Pines Manor in Edison.

For more information, visit http://magic983.com/contests/teachers-who-make-magic.

 

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@gmnews.com.