« on: March 14, 2011, 09:46:29 AM »
Greenville Honors Its Own
Mary Alma Chess King will receive the Arts in Education Award from the Greenville Arts Council.
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:20 pm
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GREENVILLE – When Greenville Honors Its Own, five awards will be presented to four individuals and one business that have made an impact on the Greenville arts community.
The awards will be presented by the Greenville Arts Council.
Receiving the honors are Judy Reed, Lifetime Contribution to the Arts; Alex O’Neal, Artist; TecInfo, Business; Martha Love Bradley, the Bert Miller Volunteer Award; and Mary Alma Chess King, Arts in Education.
Arts in Education: Mary Alma Chess King
Mary Alma Chess King will be receiving the Arts in Education Award from the Greenville Arts Council, March 25 at 7 p.m.
As a long-time educator, Mary Alma Chess King began her career at an early age. As the primary care-keeper for her younger siblings while her parents worked, King began exercising her skills as an educator at an early age, assisting her younger brothers and sisters with homework and other school lessons.
With education remaining as her key focus she went on to Rust College in Holly Springs, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English.
She is the oldest living alumna of Rust College. She also holds a master’s degree from Tennessee State University. Attending classes, working on campus and making her own clothes, King did it all while continuing to stay on top of her classes.
As an educator for more than 30 years, King taught at Breich High School in Leland, at Coleman High School and at Greenville High School, where she worked until she retired.
King taught at home, in school and at church. In the church, she was the director of the Allen Christian Endeavor League teaching the church history.
With her dedication to her students and the arts, King taught classes during the day and spent her afternoons working with students after school to practice plays, operettas and poetic presentations. If school hours weren’t enough, King invited her students to her ome for one-on-one practice.
Even during her busy teaching schedule during work hours and after, King found time to lead and create numerous holiday dramas and plays in the church. Often holding activities to raise money for field trips, King did everything in her power to empower her students and broaden their perspective on the importance of education and the arts.
She made sure that every child who came her way was afforded the opportunities and equipped with the skills needed to function in an ever changing society.
Although retired, King continues to educate those around her including her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and other friends. Her only requirement is “Always do your best.”
Education was her key. She has dedicated her life to enriching the lives of many by showing her support and enthusiasm for teaching, and love for the arts.