*Student’s name changed to protect privacy
School can be a difficult place for students who don’t learn in the same way as the majority of their peers. I saw the pain first-hand when Jen, one of my sophomore dance students walked into my classroom. She was not physically handicapped, but I could see that she was so afraid to participate that she could hardly move at all. She would stand there paralyzed. Jen struggled in many of her regular education classes. I knew that school was a miserable experience for her, and I had a hard time knowing how to help her feel comfortable enough to participate. I began to see Jen open up a little bit when I assigned her and a couple of other classmates to work with a severe special needs student. She was so caring and gentle. Through helping someone else discover the art of dance, Jen realized that she had something to offer the world. When I talked to her at the end of the year she was so excited about her plans for registering for more dance classes her junior year. I heard later from her resource specialist that dance had made all the difference for Jen’s confidence. I saw first-hand how the arts helped Jen recognize that she had worth and that is more rewarding than all of the perfect test scores I graded combined.
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Holly Taylor Petty
YPT Community Member
Holly Taylor Petty focused her arts education on dance and violin. She earned a BA in Dance Education and is a certified Suzuki violin instructor. Holly taught dance I, dance II and dance company at Payson High School in Utah until last year, when she moved to Washington DC. She became a mommy 9 months ago and is loving staying at home with her daughter, while teaching private violin lessons part-time, as well as taking dance lessons. She is currently involved with a nonprofit organization called Artist Interrupted, which helps female artists balance the performing arts with everyday family demands.