Entering her fifth year of teaching at MMA, Cheryl Morris is an art instructor and working artist who was awarded the Heimos Trophy, an honor reserved to recognize a faculty or staff member for their service to cadets during the year. Read on to learn about her journey with MMA and her advice to cadets.
How is MMA different from other educational environments, in your opinion?
MMA employs a combination of military discipline in its curriculum and a strong international presence in its body of cadets. Cadets get a unique opportunity to engage, live and become friends with others from all over the world. They share an experience so unique that they develop a lifetime bond with their peers while gaining a lifelong appreciation for cultures other than their own.
Why are you a teacher?
I'm a teacher because I'm so passionate about what I do and hope to influence young men's minds to appreciate art in its many forms. I'm a working artist, and it is exciting to share with the boys in my experiences and knowledge through my art classes. It gives me great pleasure to share and teach not only art but little life lessons along the way to hopefully help my students now and in their future lives.
What is one defining moment that reinforces why you teach at MMA?
One particular defining moment was seeing a young cadet struggle one year but grow up the next year to be a leader. This particular cadet said that he never felt like an artist, but he felt accomplished after being in my class. To teach these boys if we allow ourselves to create, learn fail and learn again from those errors to, in the end, feel accomplished and to enjoy the process, I feel like I have done my job.
For new students, what advice do you have for them about academics at MMA?
New students need to get involved and embrace all that MMA has to offer. Unfortunately, so many of us do not appreciate what we have until it is over. Hopefully, students will realized that the discipline that was instilled in them is now something they can use in future everyday life.
Photo, Mrs. Morris at her summer 2018 art show at Presser Hall.