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Holly Taylor Petty: It Matters

Jen’s Story
*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 with Her Daughter

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.

One Response

  1. I totally agree. I had the honor today to go to an alternative school down in Charlottesville VA near where i work. I was helping out with a workshop our company was doing for the school. These were kids who have severe attention difficulties as well as other behavioral issues. It was incredible to see them tackling Shakespeare and gaining confidence as they went.

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