Teacher inspires visual storytellers

Photo courtesy School News Network

BYRON CENTER, Mich. (WOTV) The classroom of Byron Center High School audio-video teacher Julie VanderLaan is a world where her own creativity inspires students to turn film into art and tell stories.

“My dream is for you guys to be able to take stories and tell them visually,” she told her students. “Art is everywhere and being able to tell a story visually will help you anywhere.”

VanderLaan’s ability to connect with students while developing a renowned audio-visual program recently was recognized when she was named Digital Arts Film and Television Teacher of the Year.

DAFT is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes media literacy through the creative use of film and video in Michigan. VanderLaan also received a Touchstone Award at the recent Michigan Youth Arts Festival, which showcases high school artistic talent.

VanderLaan has been teaching at Byron Center High School since 1998, playing a pivotal role in creating the film program. She now teaches television production, film editing, photojournalism, Foundation of Art, and the school’s highest-level art course, Artist Community, for juniors and seniors.

You can read more about VanderLaan, the path to her career, and the impact she’s having on her students, by clicking on the School News Network website.

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