AWTT artist Robert Shetterly was pleased to receive the Ashley Bryan Arts and Humanities Award last weekend during the Maine Education Association’s 95th Representative Assembly in South Portland. The annual Ashley Bryan award “honor(s) an individual in the fields of the arts and the humanities for their commitment to education and their work and advocacy for human and civil rights and social justice.” The award is named for the celebrated teacher, author, and artist, who died in 2022, at age 98. Among many of Bryan’s accomplishments was “filling the void of Black representation by creating children’s books about the African and African American experience.”
Shetterly was delighted to celebrate with others who were recognized for teaching excellence, political action, and civil and human rights work, among several award categories. The annual Golden Apple award winner was Hampden Academy social studies teacher Emily Albee, for “demonstrating a strong commitment to the local school(s) and/or to the children of a community.” Albee has won several teaching awards, including 2022 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year. Albee maintains that she acquired her passion for social justice when, as a sophomore at the University of Maine, she helped organize an on-campus talk by Francis Bok, a Dinka tribesman and former slave from South Sudan. (Albee joins AWTT Education Director Connie Carter on the list of Golden Apple recipients.)
Reporting on the awards ceremony, Shetterly emphasized what he learned about Maine Education Association‘s broad range of goals and the organization’s positive impact on the lives of both educators and students. He also raved about the performance of Pihcintu, the Maine-based multi-national girl’s chorus and their beautiful sound. Organized in 2006 by producer, musician, and songwriter Con Fullam, the chorus has performed on the Today Show, National Public Radio, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Univision, and UN TV and live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Cathedral, and the United Nations, among other venues.
Find more about this year’s conference (including clips of Pihcintu’s performance) on MEA Instagram