When the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to close in March 2020, Emily Wilson Overstreet quickly sprang into action to figure out a way to keep her elementary school art students engaged and connected to an outlet for creativity.

“I tried to think of all the ways I could connect to my kids using the different social platforms,” said Overstreet, who has been teaching at Cumberland County Elementary School for 13 years. “It was really hard for the kids to go from having a routine to not seeing their teachers anymore. That interaction for them is so important.”

What she developed was Mrs. O’s Art Studio. Launched in April 2020, the studio uses multiple social media platforms to provide project tutorials and step-by-step art lessons through recorded videos. With one click, her students were back in her classroom— virtually. Her videos soon became a destination for art lovers both young and old—and garnered an audience that reached far beyond the Farmville area.

“There’s nothing like creating something with your hands,” Overstreet said. “It’s a confidence builder, and it helps students think differently. Definitely in today’s world we need our children to be creative.”

The Young Alumni Award is presented annually to an alum under 40 who has demonstrated excellence in their career or in citizen leadership. This isn’t the first time Overstreet has been recognized. In 2020, she was named Teacher of the Year for Cumberland County Public Schools and also earned Division Teacher of the Year honors.

Even though students returned to their normal schedules and routines this past school year, Overstreet has continued to create and post content for Mrs. O’s Art Studio.

“I’m not planning on stopping. I’m just going to see how I can make it better,” she said.

Do you know an alum like Emily? Nominate them for an Alumni Award today!

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