EVSC launches campaign to name art gallery at North for Jon Siau | People
In honor of his service to North High School, and the number of students influenced and encouraged in their artistic and athletic abilities, the EVSC Office of Development is kicking off a campaign to raise money to establish the Jon Michael Siau Art Gallery at North High School. Siau retired from North High School in May, following 42 years of teaching and coaching.
The goal of the campaign is to raise $75,000. The net proceeds, after signage is created and other related expenditures, will be allocated primarily to the Visual Arts Program at North High School. Also, at Siau’s request, a modest amount will be allocated for Harper Elementary School which Siau attended; a scholarship for his alma mater - Harrison High School; and funding for a district-wide process to ensure all students reach their full potential.
“Jon epitomizes the characteristics of the involved and respected teacher, coach, and mentor – who engages students in and outside the classroom,” said EVSC Superintendent David Smith.
Co-chairs of the campaign, former North High School Principal Brenda Weber, Siau’s elementary school principal Mattie Miller, and classmate and friend from Harper Elementary School and Harrison High School Becky Dumes, say Siau’s fingerprint is evident throughout the community and its people. “Jon was born, raised, educated, worked and has lived in Evansville his entire life. His love of Evansville is reflected in all of his accomplishments and how he has “given back” to Evansville in every aspect of his life,” Dumes said.
“It is now time to recognize Jon for all of his efforts in offering the EVSC community-especially his students- his personal best. He has – and continues to be – an educator, friend, coach, mentor, artist, citizen, motivator and life coach to the citizens of Evansville, no matter the age or the situation. He always has a kind, encouraging word for all and focuses on moving forward and not looking back.
I don’t think many people realize the time and effort he has brought to his students in making them a priority. He has personally delivered artwork to out-of-area locations so his students’ projects could be delivered safe and sound for judging. If a financial situation might have prevented students from participating in an important art or sporting event, Jon made sure those students had the same opportunities as everyone else. Jon’s continued acts of devotion and generosity to his students, family, and friends cannot be matched.”
Siau taught visual arts at North High School. He also coached various athletic teams over the years including golf, track, girls tennis, and cross country, encouraging his students to strive to be the best at whatever their endeavor.
“Teachers like Jon Siau never give up on a child. They believe every child, regardless of race, income, or zip code, can achieve high standards in school,” said Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education when Siau was named the recipient of the American Star of Teaching award out of 60,000 candidates in the United States in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education.
Mattie Miller remembered Siau as a student at Harper Elementary School. His talents were evident then, as she remembered reading stories to him and his drawing pictures of what she was reading – one in particular from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has hung on a wall in her home for years and still gives her goose bumps. About the person he became following the early years at Harper, Miller said “he is an outstanding individual. Not only because of his talents and skills and the long time he has spent at North as a teacher. It may be because he IS a teacher, one of those individuals who has done so much for his students and for our community.”
“We had a strong relationship – not only me, but with my husband and my son – Jon’s just a great human being. He’s that way not only with his former teachers, but carriers it over to his students. He cares about all of his students, and the older people,” Miller continued. “We can’t capture in words what Jon has done to help not only himself in his art and skills, but others.”
Brenda Weber was the principal at North High School for many of the years that Jon taught. She agreed that Jon has done much for the community. “Jon is so deserving of this honor,” Weber said. Teaching for Jon was not just a job or a career -- it was his passion. He was a teacher, 24-7, 52 weeks a year. We are talking about raising this money in honor of Jon, but I know he has spent at least that much on students over the years. He always provided for students who needed something. Maybe it was supplies… maybe it was a tux for the prom. Whatever was needed, he was there – helping any way he could.”
Anyone interested in donating to the Jon Michael Siau Art Gallery campaign, may do so by going to the EVSC Foundation’s secure website at evscfoundation.org or by mailing a check made payable to EVSC Foundation, to 951 Walnut Street, Evansville IN 47713.
Questions may be directed to Sandy Chamness at 812-435-0970.