East High School teacher uses creative edge to earn Teacher of t - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

East High School teacher uses creative edge to earn Teacher of the Week award


A work of art is a creative process. It takes time, skill and effort.

That's exactly what East High School art teacher, Mrs. Michelle Dal Pra, tries to teach her students every day, which is why she's earned our Teacher of the Week award.

"I graduated with my bachelors, thinking I was going to be an artist," Michelle Dal Pra said. "That was really hard. And that's when I got into teaching. And I just loved it. And I found my niche."

Mrs. Michelle Dal Pra is a creative thinker. She has been, since fourth grade. Her mother noticed talent and hired an art tutor from Rockford College. Now Dal Pra's in her ninth year as an art teacher at East High School, and is being recognized by her students, as our Teacher of the Week.

"She does so much for us," says Brittany Cantwell, a senior art student at East. "She cares so much and we may not like what she has to say sometimes, but she does know what she's doing. She's an awesome teacher. She really deserves it."

Her classroom could be mistaken for an art gallery. A mix match of art pieces from past years and current classes, complete with ceiling art and even a mannequin. Right now the assignment is self portraits. Transferring their own faces, into geometric works of art.

Dal Pra says it's not about perfection. It's about appreciating art.

"If their skills are low, it's not that big of a deal, as long as I see the effort and the good work habit," Dal Pra says. "And that's what I'm trying to develop, is seeing something through. Even if you're not good at it, but still seeing something through, and finishing something, I think that's important."

She says her students mean the most to her. Having a hand in their futures makes the job worth it.

"So many of them have gone to school to become art teachers, and that makes me feel really good and very proud," she says. "I had a part in that."

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