TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Alanna Lawrence wants her students to trust the process

Published 12:02 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

This article is part of a series by The Vicksburg Post, in partnership with the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, featuring each of the nominees for teacher of the year honors.

Academy of Innovation Media Arts Teacher Alanna Lawrence wants her students to trust the process when creating art.

Lawrence is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award. The chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the chamber luncheon, which has been rescheduled to Mar. 1. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

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Lawrence began teaching in 2015 as an art teacher at Vicksburg High School. In 2016, Lawrence started teaching at Terry High School in Terry, Miss. as an art, journalism and digital media teacher. Starting in 2019, Lawrence became the media arts teacher at the Academy of Innovation.

She received an associates’ degree in general studies from Hinds Community College in 2010. In 2012, she earned a bachelor’s degree in art-graphic design from Delta State University. Currently, she is in the process of getting a master’s of education in leadership at Mississippi College. Starting in 2019, she began teaching at the Academy of Innovation as a media arts teacher.

As a media art teacher, Lawrence has her students complete simple projects that require a huge time commitment. This allows her students to understand the process of creating art.

“It also shows that as long as students trust the process then they don’t need to be great artists to produce great work,” Lawerence said.

These projects also help students understand how media arts relate to other subjects, industries and careers, she said.

“It is a critical part of my course to take a look at the world around us and not only observe but critique and improve,” she said.

However, it is her relationship with her students that helps them learn the importance of media arts.

Lawrence stated in her application, “I also find that students who know you care about them, and not just their work but them as a person, will do anything they can to make you proud.”