New Miami Schools teacher wins national contest, gets $10K for art students

NEW MIAMI — A New Miami Schools teacher’s idea to try a national art contest for the first time has turned into a $10,000 award for her art classes next school year and beyond.

The competition, which was sponsored by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the Popsicle company, saw New Miami Elementary Art Teacher Andrea Ulreich recently travel to the association’s national conference in Texas to be presented with the $10,000.

New Miami, which is just north of Hamilton and is the smallest public school district in southwest Ohio with just over a 600-student enrollment, is also one of the area’s poorest school systems and the cash prize is much appreciated said Ulreich.

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“My district and community is very supportive of the arts and winning the ‘Stick With Art’ Popsicle Contest will give my students so many new resources I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to purchase on my annual budget alone,” said Ulreich.

It was the K-5 art teacher’s essay combined with her students’ art creations using Popsicle sticks and glue that won the school’s place among the five national contest winners.

“In our art classes, students think critically as they learn about art throughout history and around the world as well as within our community. I can’t wait to continue to introduce my students to artwork and have them explore using media we have not had the opportunity to use before,” she said.

According to NAEA officials, New Miami Schools is the fourth lowest income school district in Ohio and has been affected by limited art fundings, notably not having budget for classroom supplies and heavy reliance on donations.

A giant check made out for $10,000 and presented to the five winning teachers now hangs in her classroom.

Ulreich, who is a nine-year veteran art instructor, has about 270 students each school year.

She told NAEA officials she hopes to purchase a previously unaffordable kiln for her classroom so her students, current and future, can experience the medium of ceramics and 3D design.

“I am excited to be able to add a kiln, additional clay and 3D projects as well as digital art to our curriculum next year. I have just started shopping and it is so surreal.”

“I am so proud of my students and how creative they are. I can’t wait to see what they create with all of our new art materials.”

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