Courtesy of Greenfield Daily Reporter
From the hundreds of origami cranes suspended from the ceiling to the water-bottle sculpture in the style of Dale Chihuly’s glass art, “Trow-bro” has made his mark on McCordsville Elementary School.
The collaborative art projects lining the hallways and the creative presentation of the “Pirate News,” the school’s daily announcements, led by Terry Trowbridge, enrich the school, and peers of the art teacher said they wanted to show their esteem.
Trowbridge, art teacher at McCordsville Elementary School, was named an Indiana Teacher of the Year finalist by the Indiana Department of Education. Trowbridge, 37, began his fourth year of teaching art at the McCordsville school earlier this year. He earned the “Trow-bro” nickname while teaching at Clarence Farrington Elementary in Indianapolis, he said. Nominated by his peers at the elementary school and later the Mt. Vernon Education Foundation, Trowbridge was named among the Teacher of the Year finalists, according to the IDOE.
“When my peers nominate me for something like this … it makes you feel like you should try harder,” he said. “Everyone is kind of self-conscious and you want to do good things.”
Trowbridge didn’t always have ambitions of being a school teacher. He wanted to be an illustrator, attending the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis to earn a bachelor’s degree in fine art. He later decided to earn his degree in art education as well, he said.
The Noblesville native not only teaches art to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, he also leads the creation of the school’s daily announcements, the “Pirate News,” in a comedic sketch-comedy style. Fifth-graders have the opportunity to sign up to take part, and groups of five or six take the lead in creating the announcements for about a month before ceding the spotlight to the next group. Trowbridge is the director, writer and composer of the announcements, which are posted on his YouTube channel and can be found by searching “McCordsville Elementary School” on YouTube. About half of the fifth-grade class signed up this school year to be a part of the performing arts club that makes the announcements, he said.
McCordsville Elementary School principal Stephanie Miller said Trowbridge uses his creative spirit to make art fun for his students. She said she watches the bloopers from the “Pirate News” if she ever needs a smile.
“They’re all laughing and giggling, it’s great,” she said. “While he is teaching them how to act and how to be good on camera, he also teaches them how to embrace their differences.”
He said he enjoys the imaginative things students often say to him, remembering them through his web comic, which can be found at 180daysofschool.com. Trowbridge works to make being creative fun in different ways, from making the announcements funny to playing guitar or ukulele for students during class. Playing an instrument helps his attention deficit disorder, he said, and he loves to share his favorite classic rock songs, from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Derek and the Dominos with the classes.
“That’s my fidget spinner,” he joked.
His room is filled with memorabilia from things he loves, including Star Wars memorabilia, merchandise created by Garfield author, Hoosier Jim Davis, and a Beatles drum head. He said much of his memorabilia are things that used to be in his own home. He lives in Noblesville with his wife, Melissa Trowbridge, who is a second-grade teacher at McCordsville elementary, and their two daughters, Evelyn and Layla.
Trowbridge, while grateful for being nominated for teacher of the year, said he knows how many hard-working teachers are at his own school and at other schools across the state. He said he enjoys the niche he’s carved out at the McCordsville school.
“We’ve got a good staff and a good community,” he said. “I say I’m living the dream and I mean it.”
By GDR Rorye Hatcher