Sterling Heights art teacher honored for inspiring students

A Utica Community Schools teacher has received a first-ever “Inspiring Teacher” award through the regional Scholastic Arts Tournament.

Dr Lisa Grunewald, a photography teacher at Henry Ford II High School, was honored during the Michigan Thumb Region Scholastic Art Awards on January 28 at Macomb Community College.

“Dr Grunewald inspires her students to reach their full potential and creates an environment for students to express themselves,” UCS superintendent Dr Christine Johns says.

“Her work reflects what we know is true at Utica Community Schools.  Our teachers and staff members are committed to helping students succeed both academically and in life.”

Dr Grunewald has been a UCS teacher for 15 years, and previously taught art at the junior high school level. The award was based on nominations from her former junior high students. Some of the comments from the students who put her name forward include:

- “I think she truly believes that any student has potential. She has inspired me to do my best in every piece of art I do, and that every piece of art is good and unique in its own way.”

- “She isn’t just all about art–she also listens to me when I talk. When I went on to high school we didn’t have a chance to talk as much anymore, but I emailed her pictures and asked her opinion. She always responded right away.”

- "Without her I don’t think I would be doing art in high school. I just want to thank her for everything she has taught me as an artist and as a person. She truly is a remarkable teacher and deserves this inspiring educator award.”

The 2019 award ceremony also showcased 549 individual pieces of winning student artwork and 23 portfolios from the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Competition for the Michigan Thumb Region. Categories included editorial cartoon, poetry, graphic design, fashion, science fiction and video game design and winners included students from Henry Ford II, Bemis Junior High School, Davis Junior High School, Sterling Heights High School and the Utica Center for Science and Industry. 

Read more articles by Kate Roff.

Kate Roff is a freelance writer and editor, currently based out of Detroit. Contact her at
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