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Art Education Student Andrea Oosterhouse Named Valedictorian of KCAD’s 2019 Graduating Class

Posted May 7, 2019 in CampusStudentPublicArt Education

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) is pleased to announce Art Education student Andrea Oosterhouse as the valedictorian of the college’s 2019 graduating class. Oosterhouse, a graduate of Hopkins High School in Hopkins, Mich., will be honored during KCAD’s commencement on May 11, 2019.

Andrea Oosterhouse portrait

KCAD 2019 Valedictorian Andrea Oosterhouse. Photo: Jacob Morales

“KCAD is proud to name Andrea Oosterhouse as our 2019 valedictorian,” said KCAD President Leslie Bellavance. “In making the most of her own creative education, Andrea will graduate more than ready to succeed in helping others leverage their creativity into opportunities for growth. We look forward to seeing her come into her own as an art educator, and we wish her the best on the next step of her journey.”

Art Education Program Chair Dr. Cindy Todd added, “Andrea is one of those students who impresses immediately. Intelligent, soft spoken, confident and dedicated, she was a fantastic student and is an ideal teacher. We know this is just the first of her many accomplishments, and we are all very proud of her.”

To Oosterhouse, the honor is just as much a reflection of the KCAD community around her as it if of herself.

“It’s very humbling, because you start to think about all the people who helped you get here and all the support you had and you realize it’s not just you; you did it on the backs of other people,” she said. “It’s given me a feeling of responsibility.”

Oosterhouse came to the Art Education program already experienced in leading others through transformative educational experiences. As a peer-assisted listener in high school, she recognized the power of moving beyond simply transmitting information to fostering engaging and meaningful learning opportunities.

Life size bear sculpture made of decorative fabric

Artwork by Andrea Oosterhouse

“I had a great experience and I realized that I loved working with children, especially in those moments where you really see them get it,” said Oosterhouse.

In the Art Education program, Oosterhouse learned how to tap into the latest pedagogical and brain research to devise multi-stimuli educational experiences that not only integrate K-12 educational standards with hands-on creative engagement, but account for multiple intelligences and different learning styles as well–the cornerstone of the program’s curriculum.

“A lot of that was new to me, but it was so helpful, because you’re learning how to touch more students and help their creativity come alive,” said Oosterhouse. “When students are engaged and also excited, it makes them more invested in what they’re doing and helps the learning stick.”

Oosterhouse then had the opportunity to translate those experiences into real-world classroom settings through the program’s required student teaching component, a series of three placements—one 40-hour, one 80-hour, and a semester-long placement—at different grade levels in rural, suburban, and urban schools. The aim of the approach is to help KCAD Art Education students become versatile teachers by immersing them in a wide variety of educational environments under the guidance of different established art teachers.

Landscape painting

Artwork by Andrea Oosterhouse

“My placement teachers helped me step over the fence of confidence; they taught me how to face fear, how to manage different classroom situations, how to make things interesting for students, and how to always be ready to adapt when things don’t go to plan,” said Oosterhouse. “After my semester-long placement, my confidence just skyrocketed.”

Outside of her work in the classroom, Oosterhouse took advantage of the Art Education program’s strong relationship with the Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA) to attend the organization’s annual conferences and other events, where she expanded her professional network by interfacing with art teacher and art education students from around the state and engaged with larger conversations around art education in the 21st century. She was also a member of the Kendall Christian Fellowship, a KCAD student organization she says helped her further develop her leadership skills.

“It’s no surprise that Andrea’s deep level of engagement—both on and off of the KCAD campus—has fueled her exemplary academic achievements and helped her cultivate a broad perspective that will serve her well as an art educator,” said KCAD Dean of Academic Affairs Charles Wright. “We are proud to now welcome her into our alumni community, and we look forward to following her continued success.”

Upon graduating, Oosterhouse will continue teaching art at Black River Public Schools in Holland, Mich., where she’s been working for the past month as a long-term substitute art teacher for students in a variety of grade levels. Ultimately, she hopes to secure a permanent teaching position at a middle or high school in a rural community much like the one she grew up in.

“I have a passion for helping students take the next step and be prepared for their future, whatever it might be for them,” she said. “On a personal level, it’s about really making students feel cherished and valued so they can grow as people, and helping them to think outside of themselves so they can learn to look at the bigger picture.”

Work from Oosterhouse and the rest of KCAD’s 2019 graduating class will be featured the 2019 Annual Student Exhibition(May 7-11), featuring work from each of the college’s programs and encompassing all floors of the college’s 17 Fountain St. NW and Woodbridge N. Ferris Buildings. A campus-wide opening reception will be held on May 7 from 4-7pm.

The 2019 Annual Excellence Awards Exhibition(May 7-11), hosted in The Fed Galleries @ KCAD inside the college’s Woodbridge N. Ferris Building (17 Pearl St. NW), will showcase work from the 16 members of the 2019 graduating class who have been honored with the Excellence Award, given to those KCAD students who exhibit a rare level of mastery and accomplishment in their chosen field of study.

On Thursday, May 9, KCAD’s Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies program will present its annual Graduate Forum, showcasing the thesis research of graduating students. The presentations will take place in room 217 of the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

On Friday, May 10, the Digital Art and Design program will host a screening of outstanding animations and videos created by 2019 graduates at 4:00 pm in room 221 of the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building.

All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit kcad.edu/galleries.

KCAD’s commencement will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at Forest Hills Fine Arts Center. Tickets are required.