Art opens new world for many MHS students


McClain’s art students have been sharing their creativity for years throughout the community and that was recently recognized by the school board.

At the December school board meeting, those gathered heard about the community service projects of the McClain Art Club and the National Art Honor Society (NAHS), which in recent years have included painting murals and inspirational quotes at the Jefferson Street Business Center in Greenfield and then painting pediatric exam rooms at the Highland County Health Department. They also recently completed a window painting for the holidays at Yusa in Washington C.H.

According to art teacher Rachel Soards, the students also do a lot of the sets for the plays and musicals, as well as homecoming and prom decor. Students also compete in contests and recently a student won first place with her logo design for the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, which will be featured on the fire district’s shirts and vehicles for years to come. Soards added that the first three places in that countywide content were McClain students. The art students are also responsible for the bright and creative fire hydrant work seen around town that was a part of the MHS Day back in May.

Before the pandemic, students would visit local nursing homes and work on crafts with the residents and that’s something Soards said they hope to resume doing very soon.

Soards said that while many of the students take art to fulfill the fine art credit they need for graduation, some of them end up realizing that they have talent. Also, just taking an art course sometimes helps students develop a true appreciation of art. Whether through a discovery of talent, a development of appreciation, or both, students become more engaged and involved in art.

There’s been an NAHS chapter at McClain since 1972, Soards said. She added that many students and even staff sometimes unknowingly refer to NAHS as art club, but they are different. To be eligible for art club, students must have successfully completed Art 1. Once a student joins art club, they may be considered for possible induction into the NAHS if they meet certain qualifications, which include grade requirements and a student’s display of a sincere interest and scholarship in art, as well as the student’s show of service and character.

“NAHS opens up so many opportunities for scholarships and collaboration with other artists nationwide,” Soards said.

While not all the students were able to attend the school board meeting, Soards said every one of them were grateful for the recognition.

“They really are the best students,” Soards said. “Sometimes I feel like people forget how important art is for a student’s overall education and whole-brain development.”

To follow what’s happening at the high school, check out its Facebook page. For district information and updates, go to the district website at or go to the district’s social media pages.

Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.

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