Entire School Gathers to Emotionally Praise Award-Winning Art Teacher

Eryn Blaser, art teacher at Meadow Ridge Elementary in Orland Park, was named Illinois Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. Her entire school told her how great that is all at once.

Meadow Ridge students and staff cheered for art teacher Eryn Blaser. Credit: Ben Feldheim
Meadow Ridge students and staff cheered for art teacher Eryn Blaser. Credit: Ben Feldheim

Eryn Blaser had no idea what was coming.

The Illinois Art Educators Association had recently acknowledged the Meadow Ridge art teacher as the Illinois Elementary Art Teacher of the Year.

But the distinction didn’t prepare her for the entire school congratulating her on Oct. 28 one by one as she walked the halls. Students and staff alike gave her cards, gifts and flowers while hugging her and cheering for her.

“I’m just not the ‘hey, look at me’ type,” Blaser said.

Blaser’s involvement in art and art education extends outside the classroom, in the seven years since she started at Meadow Ridge. She oversees the IAEA’s traveling art show, where she was tasked with narrowing down 640 student submissions to 40 for the gallery. She also has contributed works of her own to the Orland Park Chef’s Auction.

“Accolades are great but this is what’s most important,” Blaser said, about seeing the students’ progress in art. “To see what you’ve taught and see the artistic way it’s processed.”

Art was a way for the Joliet resident to express her passions, as she was shy growing up, Blaser said.

“I knew in junior high I would do something in art,” Blaser said. “Teaching or otherwise.”

Blaser isn’t the only one from Meadow Ridge acknowledged for efforts in art. Cameron Woolery, who now attends Century Junior High, won a spot on the Illinois Student Art Show.

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