Art is not the only thing Rae de Regnier teaches her students. On the wall behind her desk is a brightly colored sign made by one of her students saying, “May I Please?”
Students know in order to receive her full attention they must use proper grammar and manners when asking for any help.
“Some students tell me they can’t remember their manners unless they see the sign,” she says, “So a student made me this sign for this classroom.”
De Regnier received her K-12 art and physical education degree from the University of Northern Iowa and began her teaching career in Norwalk. After staying home with her own preschool-aged children for a few years, de Regnier returned to teaching in 1995 as a part-time physical education teacher in the middle school which was then located on West Washington. The next year she accepted the position as the fifth through eighth grade art teacher and Boomerang advisor. She dedicated 15 years to the Boomerang but now concentrates her efforts on the middle school yearbook.
De Regnier currently teaches fourth – eighth grade art. She begins her day in the junior high teaching seventh and eighth grade students exploratory art. Students rotate through her classroom at six-week intervals. Seventh graders spend their time on tessellations and their dream room while eighth graders love making a symmetrical mask of their own face.
After her time at the junior high, De Regnier heads to the middle school. She sees fourth, fifth and sixth graders every three days throughout the school year. Fourth graders draw a Madison county picture in the fall and learn how to pinch a clay pot and coil a trivet while fifth graders study “American Gothic” and enjoy building their clay whistles. Sixth graders had a first-time opportunity for a peace poster contest through Lions International and study primary and secondary colors during their quick cuts project. They also learn every clay technique.
Every fall, community members have the opportunity to view students’ work during the Covered Bridge Festival art show inside the courthouse. De Regnier’s goal is to help students appreciate art more.
“It’s amazing to see the kids realize they can do art when they think they can’t because they can’t draw,” she says.