GHS teacher to visit Cuba

Published 11:45 am Monday, August 22, 2011

A Greenville teacher will have the opportunity to explore her roots and expand her perspective on the arts in education this fall.

Stacey Edwards, an art teacher at Greenville High School, will be one of the members of an Art Education Association research group from schools across the nation traveling to Cuba October 2-7 to study art education practices in that country.

She is excited about the professional opportunity to learn how to expose her students to “new ways of looking at the world.”

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“When you teach for any length of time, it is easy to get stale in your delivery,” Edwards said. “Many of my students have a lot in common with the Cuban students. They live in high-poverty areas and have been kept down for a variety of reasons. Whether it be their environment or Communism, they all have obstacles to overcome. I am hoping to see new ways to reach these kids through the arts.”

But Edwards says she is also very much looking forward to the chance to visit her paternal family’s native country.

“My grandfather, Jaquin Calvar, left Cuba for the United States in 1959, and my grandmother, Dulce and father Jack came in 1961 at the beginning stages of the revolution,” said Edwards. “Their memories of their home are much different than the realities of today.”

Edwards was able to travel to Miami last month for her 94-year-old grandmother’s funeral and meet many of her relatives, a number of whom were also in their 90s.

“I have to say that generation is not too happy about my going to Cuba,” she said. “The dictator Castro is still very real to them. However, I have been reading as many books as I could find about the old and new Cuba. It has a fascinating history, even if it is rather tragic at times.”

Edwards says she hopes to travel to the province of Montanza, the place her father’s family once lived, while she is in Cuba.

“It’s an hour’s drive from Havana, and is rumored to have the most beautiful beach, Vallaratas,” Edwards said. “I am really hoping I get to see it.”

She says she has also been brushing up on her Spanish, with her aunt Lisa Huggins, Spanish instructor for GHS, “definitely speaking more Spanish around me.”

The art instructor is holding a fundraiser at 7:30 p.m., September 10 at the Ritz Theatre to help defray her expenses for the trip. “Stacey Edwards and Friends: A Night of Country Legends” will feature Edwards’ own vocal abilities along with other local talents, including Vicky Russell, Starla Jones, Steve Norman, Ben Norman, Renny McNaughton, Heath Kendrick, Bobby Johnson, Rosie McClain and a live band with Cleve Poole, Michael Rodgers, Charlie Kennedy, David Jackson and Troy Reid.

“We have a great pool of talent here in Greenville and I so appreciate all of them joining me for this event,” said Edwards.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available at The Pineapple and the door and are $20 for adults and $10 for students.