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Annual French Award supports art education in high school correctional facility

For their proposal to introduce art curriculum at Aztec High School of the John Paul Taylor Correctional Facility, Sara Flores, an instructor of women studies at New Mexico State University, and Heather Oesterreich, an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at NMSU, have been announced as the winners of the 2006 French Annual Improvement of Secondary Teaching Award.


The $4,900 award is the most prestigious external award given by NMSU's College of Education.

Flores and Oesterreich will be honored at the Fourteenth Annual Scholarship and Awards Ceremony held in Spring 2007. They also will give a brief presentation on the success to date and future plans of their project detailed in the proposal.

In their proposal, "The Artist Inside," Flores and Oesterreich plan to add art in the curriculum at Aztec High School, which currently concentrates only on core subject areas - math, science, language arts and social studies.

Flores and Oesterreich sought funding for the project through the COE's French Award in order to strengthen students' culturally-based pride, increase the amount of time students spend in positive peer interaction and increase visual art skills for self-expression and recognition in sketching, drawing, photography, art history, multi-media collage, desktop publishing and digital imagery.

The French Award, founded in 1981 by Ralph and Josiah French of Las Cruces to honor the memory of their aunts, Fannie and Floy French, is given annually to encourage research and application of creative ideas for the improvement of secondary teaching. The French sisters devoted their lives to education.

Floy French, born in 1878, worked in library management in New Mexico and later as head librarian at Carnegie Library in Indiana. Fannie French, born in 1883, graduated from New Mexico State University in 1902 when it was the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. She organized the first Las Cruces High School and was its first principal. She later became an education teacher at Morton College in Illinois. Both women returned to Las Cruces after they retired.

Nov. 30, 2006
Bryant Million