It's highly unusual for a high school student to be selected to attend a prestigious Corning Glass Studios workshop in New York.
But for those who know Poynette High School senior Teri Bailey, the news that she was one to be chosen probably isn't much of a surprise at all. PHS art instructor Ron Jordak said Bailey, the school's art club president, has been a "tremendous role model" for both students in the club and at the school.
"Teri's put a lot of smiles on a lot of peoples' faces, for a variety of reasons," he said. "She just shares her expertise and knowledge of the arts to make people happy."
One of those people was Poynette resident JoAnn Schulz, recently diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. When Bailey heard Jordak talking about Schulz's situation, Bailey led a group of art students who sold their works at the "Holiday Splash" event to raise money for Schulz - a move that touched the hearts of JoAnn and her husband Tom, who quit work to care for her.
"We only moved here in February 2011, we know maybe three people. I was just blown away," JoAnn Schulz said in the Jan. 12 issue of the Press. "I felt so appreciative, like it was a blessed thing. It made a heck of a difference for Christmas.
"We had good food for Christmas dinner."
Jordak said her work with raising money for the Schultz' through the Holiday Splash event "ultimately" got her a spot at the Corning Glass workshop, as well as her artistic skills, energy and persistence.
"She's taken workshops on her own, because obviously we can't do glass work here," he said. "She's been doing things on her own, and it's been a passion of hers. I don't think they normally take high school students, but because of her experience - wherever she can get a hold of people who can do that sort of thing, she's finding out about that medium.
"She's developed a very good portfolio, not only visually, but she's done her homework in researching her media and other artists."
Bailey's passion for the arts and glass-blowing gives her a bright future, Jordak said.
"Not many high school seniors would want to venture off into New York, into an unknown area with a teacher she admires but really has no personal knowledge of," he said. "It's very daunting for the typical high school student to work in that capacity, and she's totally excited and motivated to do well."
Bailey said she was thrilled to earn a spot at the workshop, seeing only eight other people were accepted.
"This is probably the best place to learn," she said.
The trip to New York won't be cheap, though, with students being asked to pay $775 for tuition, as well as supply their own room and board.
Poynette High School has set up a campaign to raise the estimated $2,000 it will take for Bailey to attend the new York workshop.
If people are interested in donating to Bailey's workshop, they can send contributions to: Teri Bailey, W10124 Giese Lane, Portage, WI 53901.