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Smithers teacher wins provincial award

A Smithers teacher is getting provincial recognition for his dedication to the arts.

Perry Rath is this year’s recipient of the BC Art Teachers’ Association (BCATA) award for “Excellence in Art Education”.

Rath, who teaches art at Smithers Secondary School (SSS), said that while he knew he had been nominated getting the news he had actually won was a shock.

“I was amazed and thrilled,” he said. “These sorts of awards do primarily get dominated by people in the bigger cities, the Lower Mainland so the fact that I got recognized up here in northcentral B.C., I felt that was a pretty significant nod to get.”

According to BCATA’s website, the award is for an individual who has “made an outstanding contribution to art education by providing excellent art instruction in the classroom, as well as being an advocate for Visual Arts in their school community.”

Rath said one of the reasons he got into teaching was to be a source of support and provide a space where students could truly express themselves.

“I just really loved being able to awaken the creative spark in people,” he said. “Sometimes people have a hard time either socially or structurally through systems and I felt like I could work in that format.”

Rath was also instrumental in the creation of the “Honouring Our Elders Legacy Portrait Project” which pairs students up with local elders to create portraits which are displayed outside of the school.

He has been teaching in the district since 2005 and has been working as a teacher for more than 20 years.

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