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Cypress Springs HS teacher chosen for NEH residential program

Dr. Alain Harvey, Cypress Springs High School Chemistry teacher, was selected to participate in an NEH training program.
Dr. Alain Harvey, Cypress Springs High School Chemistry teacher, was selected to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) professional development program “The St. Louis Blues: Music, Migration and the Movement” set for this July at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Mia Rios, Cypress Springs HS)

May 16, 2024—Cypress Springs High School teacher Dr. Alain Harvey has been selected for a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) professional development program in St. Louis, Missouri, this July.

The program titled “The St. Louis Blues: Music, Migration and the Movement,” will examine the historical ties between blues music, migration and race relations in urban environments. The workshop will provide educators from across the country the opportunity to study at the National Blues Museum and explore the historical significance of blues as a foundation of U.S. music and culture.

“I have learned that one of the most valuable skills an educator can have is connecting learning to students’ real-world experiences,” Dr. Harvey said. “This workshop offers the opportunity for me to better engage all students in multidisciplinary, whole-language learning using the study of music, math, language arts, history, anthropology and sociology in a hands-on approach celebrating creative self-expression.”

The NEH offers a variety of grant and professional development programs throughout the year. More than 5,500 applications are reviewed for spots in all programs. Dr. Harvey was drawn to this specific event due to his interest in not only the blues, but his desire to continue learning new ways to connect with students.

“As an educator, I want to move students in the same direction with gaining an appreciation for blues music,” Dr. Harvey said. “I have always been drawn to blues music because of its emotional and spiritual qualities. Blues music reflects the themes of struggle, resilience and the human experience, which resonates with listeners on a deeply emotional level. For me, blues music evokes various emotions, including sadness, introspection and empathy. Blues music also has a therapeutic effect, helping listeners process and cope with difficult emotions. Those who listen to blues music appreciate its ability to connect with the human experience and provide a sense of catharsis. Blues music has been a significant influence on so many other musical genres.”

Dr. Harvey teaches Chemistry at Cypress Springs and believes the workshop will help him gain valuable knowledge he can take back to the classroom.

“Participation in this year’s residency workshop highlights the inherent connection between science and music,” Dr. Harvey said. “Through blues, the workshop explores sound creation, technological innovation, the human ear, hearing safety and much more while also exploring the technology and engineering used to make instruments played in blues.”