by Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY – Janice Theberge has retired from her art room at the Glenwood City School District after 22 years as a Hilltopper.
“Teaching art has been a fulfilling career for me. Being part of the magic that happens on a daily basis in the lives of children has been a gift; I have gratitude for having had this experience,” expressed Theberge.
It was in 1991 that Theberge was interviewed by Julian Bender and Nancy Dimberio for the art teacher position and then hired by superintendent, Dr. Weber.
At this time, the art room was located in the old hill school and she shared the room with the music teacher, which was possible because students spent half the time at the St. John’s school as well.
During that time she was also hired as the Gifted and Talented Coordinator where she created the Odyssey of the Mind program in the district, which eventually came to be known as Destination Imagination. Within that same time she also started the Invention Convention in the elementary.
After a year and half, the new addition opened up in the current elementary school and that is where her class has been ever since.
Theberge has not been just an art teacher in her years at Glenwood City, she has worn many different hats as she called it.
In her 22 years she has taught physical education, been a high school art teacher as well as elementary and was a coordinator on three different programs.
The past four years she has taken on the duties of the English Language Learner Coordinator where she works with parents and the students in that program. She was also the Destination Imagination coordinator for several years with many teams placing at regionals and advancing to the state level.
“A highlight of my teaching career has been working as a cooperating teacher through UW-Stout with their art practicum students and student teachers,” said Theberge.
In two decades, Theberge has instilled several traditions in the art room that happen every year including the Junior Duck Stamp competition, participation in and the activities that go along with Youth Art Month as well as mural paintings around the halls.
“I have always been a strong supporter of Youth Art Month and annually exhibiting student work in the regional show. I was always proud when students had a piece of art go to the State Capital Show in Madison and even prouder when they received state awards,” shared Theberge.
Prior to coming to Glenwood City, Theberge graduated from Westfield High School in Marquette County. She then moved a few hours away to Menomonie where she enrolled at UW-Stout and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education K-12.
After graduation she took her first position in the art world at the Adams County Youth Commission where she worked as a tutor in the Adams-Friendship High School and also developed a community art program.
Afterwards she taught at the Eau Claire Academy for five years and resigned when her daughter was born. She did a short stint as a substitute teacher and had a color consultant business and then her son was born.
She spent two more years at the Eau Claire Academy before coming to the Boyceville Elementary where she taught for two years. She was also working part-time at the Connorsville school in the art position.
“At Connorsville I went into classrooms and used an art-cart to tote my supplies. With a little ingenuity I created an office space in the corner of the furnace room,” shared Theberge.
With the joy of retirement now in her grasp, Theberge plans to pursue her own art studies and teach art in a less formal setting.
Teaching art workshops for adults and children as well as private sessions through her business “The Art Connection” out of her home in Boyceville is her goal.
Other than enjoying her passion at home, Theberge plans to travel when she can and spend more time with her family as her son is in California and her daughter and granddaughter are in Minneapolis. She also wants to travel to Quebec, Canada and Vermont with her husband Larry.