Since the fall of 2009, the Henderson Endowment Fund has been making grants to three public school districts in the Verde Valley. Gloria and James Henderson left our community this wonderful legacy to support music and the arts in primary education.
Now that the James and Gloria Henderson Endowment Fund is beginning its fifth year, we would like to share some of what we’ve accomplished:
- Working with almost two dozen teachers we have made almost 200 grants, reaching thousands of children. We have bought musical instruments, sheet music, kilns and art supplies for schools and have implemented after-school art programs, numerous summer programs, residencies, field trips and music and art clubs to nurture children who have special interest in these subjects.
- Regular in-school daily art classes in Cottonwood and Camp Verde began in 2011, where students are taught art as part of their regular curriculum.
- Student-parent classes in Camp Verde and Cottonwood have also been introduced; this type of program not only brings the students and their parents together working on a project, but also illustrates to the parents how their children thrive when participating in such activities.
- Some of the highlights of this past year are The Cottonwood Middle School completed a huge mosaic based on four civilizations (a complex project, which tied into the 6th graders’ social studies program).
- Alex Weir, percussion teacher, gave a one-week seminar at the Cottonwood Middle School in conjunction with a science class.
- Several classes went to visit the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, while some went to see a professional dance company and other classes went to hear the symphony.
- The Henderson Fund has offered various summer programs which included visits from Child’s Play, an educational young peoples’ theater group from Phoenix, the Missoula Children’s Theater as well as varied art classes where the children work with mixed media, clay, and jewelry. Oak Creek students competed successfully in art competitions and Camp Verde students studied the history of the flute with a Native American teacher who taught them how to to construct a flute.
- In the 2013-2014 school year even more new programs have been added—kindergarten art classes, after school dance and drama programs that will incorporate music, drama and art, set-design and basic production skills, to name a few. These classes culminate with performances in the community.
- The Henderson Endowment Fund is also working with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club in Cottonwood by regularly making grants so they are able to purchase more materials for art classes, and provide programs and additional teachers.
It’s a pleasure to see how the children are thriving and how eager they are to participate in these programs. The feedback from parents, students and teachers has been tremendous. We are planning new programs for each semester and hope to continue expanding as time goes on.