By Max Hrenda
Going into his first art class at Cloudland Elementary, Mike Hill was hoping to make a good first impression on his first- and second-grade students with a lesson on color theory.
“Instead of paint, I took in birthday cake icing in primary colors,” Hill said. “They all paired up with different primary colors, then made secondary colors, and then ate the stuff. Of course, that was a hit. Then I sent them back (to class) on a sugar-and-lard-icing high.”
Despite the sudden influx of sugar-infused students, Cloudland Principal Dawn Winters said she was pleased with the results from Hill’s first day.
“It went wonderfully,” Winters said. “But we’re going further. He’s looking forward to getting products out here so that we can set up a gallery at the school.”
While Hill seems to have been well-received by the students and faculty, there is one drastic difference between him and the teachers of Cloudland.
He isn’t one.
Last year, Hill was exploring his options on where to send his two daughters, Sofia and Ellie, to school when Cloudland caught his eye.
“It was this crazy little diamond,” Hill said. “They had everything. They had a dedicated art studio, and a music class, and computers, and a fellow that will teach anybody string instruments that wants to learn. It was incredible.”
According to Carter County Schools K-8 Supervisor Dan Winters, the school’s reconstruction after the flood of 1998 helped better prepare it to accommodate lesser-funded programs like art and music.