Lake Murray Elementary art teacher traveling to Morocco to learn techniques for classroom

Lake Murray Elementary art teacher Sherry Hope. Photos provided.

Lake Murray Elementary School art teacher Sherry Hope has just embarked on the trip of a lifetime.

She and eight other teachers from across the country have been given the opportunity to travel to Morocco to learn more about their passion: art.

Hope and the others, through the National Art Education Association, left Friday morning at 10 a.m. for a 12-day trip to different cities throughout the country. The group will be immersed into Moroccan culture with artisans who have been practicing their crafts their whole lives, according to Hope.

When she was invited to go by a NAEA representative, she said she could not believe it. “I was overwhelmed with excitement. I’ve never been anywhere outside of the southeastern United States,” she said. “To experience Africa is a dream come true. I just never thought I’d get there, you know? To go in this way, is beyond words.”

During her stay, she will get to see a variety of landscapes including forests, mountains, oases, and deserts. Although she’s thrilled to see the sights, Hope said she’s most looking forward to learning about some of their long-standing art techniques.

“Morocco is known for their tile work and pottery, as well as their berber jewelry. I’m really excited to see the metal work on that. We’ll actually get to make pottery and tiles. They hand-make the tiles, and that’s what they actually put on their own architecture,” she said.

Hope has talked to her students about the trip, and plans to implement some of the techniques she learns into her lesson plans. “I’ve already told my students, I don’t know what we’re going to do when I get back, but it’s going to be amazing,” she said. She’s looking forward to seeing her students embrace the ideas of a different culture. “What makes us all so special and unique is our differences.”

The encouragement Hope has received from her district, school, community and family has been very helpful as she’s prepared for her trip, she said. Her husband created a gofundme to help aid in the trip expenses, since it was not covered by the NAEA.

The day before the trip, Hope said she was calmer than she’d been all week. “I think I’m done packing. Just a final check and a few little things. I think I’m most nervous if I’ve packed correctly and brought enough sunblock,” she laughed. “I’ve never been this close to the equator, so I’m scared I’ll get sunburned pretty fast.”

While in Morocco Hope will have a GoPro to document her journey and will be posting entries on a blog when possible. Although she will have no cell phone service, she will be able to access the internet in the larger cities.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Chapin, Education, Lexington County