Noel Bethea and the art department hosted An Ode to the Arts at Pirate Theatre on Feb. 24.
Matanzas High School students showcased their finest drawing, singing, dancing, acting — and some showed talents in multiple categories — at Troupe 7108’s An Ode to the Arts on Feb. 24, at Pirate Theatre.
Theater teacher Noel Bethea helped organize the event, which she hopes to do again next year, featuring the school’s jazz band, vocal ensemble, steel blue percussion band, step team and acting students.
“It’s like a magnet school,” said another art teacher on campus, Amy Taylor, in praise of Noel Bethea’s efforts. “It’s such a strong program.”
Taylor said her students take her art class “for an experience.”
“I try to spark them,” she said. “You have to go on a little journey with them.”
Her students’ African mask drawings were on the wall outside Pirate Theatre. She highlighted the mask made by Cebria Hunter, who researched African patterns to incorporate into her piece.
“Cebria worked really hard,” Taylor said. “I find that students aren’t really proud of their work a lot of times, so when they’re proud of what they do, and it’s a new experience, they surprise themselves.”
Another teacher whose students’ artwork was on display at the event was that of Noel Bethea’s son, Ty Bethea. He’s an artist himself and got a degree in teaching because he wants to help all students — whether they aspire to create art or not — to develop into "admirable" human beings.
“Some aren’t excited about art,” Ty Bethea said. “They’ll say, ‘This is just drawing. I’ll never have to draw again.’”
And while that may be true, he tries to help his students understand that they still need to develop good habits and be responsible to get their assignments done well and done on time.
“That will matter when you have a job and have bills to pay,” he said. “It helps them grow as a person, and that’s what I’m trying to guide them to do. … I want to be that teacher they remember when they leave. I know I can make an impact.”