"It is my belief that a public school education should prepare students to the best of their abilities to be responsible, productive citizens who contribute to and participate in our democratic society in positive ways. Students should be helped to develop communication skills, inquisitive minds, and self-directedness as well as a life-long desire to continue improving themselves and the quality of their lives. Learning to understand, work with, and accept those who are different from ourselves is also an important facet of a good education. Development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills will help students function effectively in an ever-changing world. Additionally, I believe very strongly that in today's society the education process must facilitate the development of respect and responsibility along with other character traits which derive from these two . . . Schools must provide children with the tools and environment where they can do quality work toward achieving these goals."
Hemphill's teaching efforts go beyond the public classroom. She also is a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher and was named the 1998 Christian Educator of the Year by the Board of Christian Education at the First Baptist Church in Manhattan.
Hemphill coordinates student art displays and judges student art contests in the Manhattan-Ogden District. She also helped develop the K-12 Art Curriculum Guide for the Manhattan-Ogden District.
"Ms. Hemphill volunteers at the Beach Museum of Art as a docent, giving freely of her extra time to train and give tours, especially on weekends and during the summer. She is personable, dedicated, and gracious. She is always first on the list to sign up for special programs and field trips. In her role as docent she also serves as an excellent advisor when we develop school programs for the museum, making sure that content is appropriate and coincides with the curriculum . . . Ms. Hemphill not only enriches the lives of Northview students, she shares her knowledge and love of art with the whole Manhattan community and with the community of teachers across the country. She certainly is a Master Teacher."
Kathrine Walker Schlageck, education and public programs,
Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University
"There was always support and encouragement no matter the student's skill level . . . Perhaps I didn't learn a whole lot about art in Mrs. Hemphill's class, but I did observe several positive characteristics that I've tried to emulate. And at its most basic level, isn't that what teaching is all about--setting a good example for the students, giving them lessons on how to work with others, and how to persevere, carrying on a project to its completion. Today, I have a strong appreciation for the arts and for artists themselves, and I attribute much of that love to Mrs. Hemphill. I may not be an artist myself, but I am certainly a better person because of her art class."
Harrison Rivers, former student
"I have been consistently impressed over the last four years with Mary's dedication and commitment to both her teaching and to lifelong learning. Whether the topic is the mummificaiton rituals of ancient Egypt or the fabrication techniques of modern sculptors, Mary has demonstrated a lively and serious interest in learning all that she can about the history of art. Her commitment to learning is also well illustrated in the several hour commute that brings her to the Nelson's classes. Mary comes to the courses with enthusiasm, life and energy--I have no doubt that all three may be seen in abundance in her classroom."
Carol Inge Hockett, coordinator of adult programs,
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO