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Parkersburg HS teacher named Art Educator of the Year by W.Va. Art Education Assoc.

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:57 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - “I think this was an honor and a validation that I am supposed to be here doing what I’m doing,” says Emma Romanowski.

Emma Romanowski has been named Art Educator of the Year, by the West Virginia Art Education Association.

She has been teaching art at Parkersburg high school for the last seven years, and is actually a graduate of PHS herself.

Romanowski says her own PHS art teacher inspired her to work in art education.

“Mr. Morningstar is kind of the reason why I wanted to be an art teacher. Because he had a reach for kids that went beyond the classroom,” says Romanowski. “He’s someone to talk to and someone to be there at all times. So, I kind of based my teaching around him.”

And she took over for Morningstar once he retired.

Romanowski says, “I actually wrote on his desk one time, as I visited from college, ‘hey, you know, you’re not allowed to retire until I get my teaching degree, and I’m going to take your job.’ And I did. And he retired and was like, ‘hey, you did it!’ And he called me, and I lost that voicemail a long time ago. But I wanted to keep it forever. Because I thought it was really cool.”

Romanowski’s students say she deserves to be recognized for her efforts. Especially with how she has influenced them.

“Ms. Romanowski is super motivational and accepting,” says junior, Taryn Newsom. “No artist is overlooked and she always makes everyone feel like really confident in themselves and special.”

Romanowski even keeps notes and mementos from her past students as reminders of how she has impacted others.

“I actually keep a ‘smile file.’ Where the kids if they write me a letter or get me a little gift or a teacher appreciation card, I keep those things. And when I think about when times get tough in the teaching world I read those and I remember why I’m here,” says Romanowski.

Romanowski will be receiving her award at her other alma mater, West Liberty University.

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