Baldwin teacher selected for prestigious workshop in Mississippi

BALDWIN — One of Baldwin Community School's educators has been chosen to travel to Mississippi to further her own education for a 10-day workshop.

She is music teacher Julie Sherlock, and was chosen for a prestigious spot to explore the rich history of Blues music from some of the best musical minds in the United States.

The workshop is called "The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History and Culture in the Mississippi Delta," and will run from July 10 through 20. It is one of 21 Landmarks of American History and Culture events hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NEH is an independent federal agency working to strengthen society by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans.

This workshop is one of many programs it runs to help spread knowledge of American history and help bring a higher level of culture into the classroom.

"I have a deep fascination of music history, especially multicultural music history," explained Sherlock. "I knew I could take a lot from this workshop and bring it back to my students here. I think it's especially beneficial since this is such a multicultural community."

The workshop will be based out of Delta University in Cleveland, Miss., and will be headed by Luther Brown, a renowned expert on the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta. During the 10-day event, she will take part in lectures, discussions and trips throughout the region. Among the sites on the program will be the National Civil Rights Museum, Stax Records in Memphis, Tenn., the B.B. King Museum and the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Among the many things the workshop will focus on is Blues music. A genre born in the region of the delta, Sherlock said she hopes to gain a better understanding of it, and in turn give her students a better understanding as well. The workshop will even include portions which require her to build lesson plans incorporating what she has learned.

"It will help my students as I will be bringing knowledge I learn back to them," said Sherlock. "The Blues gave birth to Jazz, rock 'n' roll and R&B; anyone who shaped the Blues helped shape all of modern music and that's one of the things I'm hoping I will be able to show my students."

A total of 42 teachers were selected to attend from more than 400 applicants. Each received an $1,800 stipend to help cover their travel, study and living expenses for the trip.

"I'm so happy I was selected to go," said Sherlock. "I've never been one to toot my own horn, but I think this will not only be good for me, but will also be a great resource I can bring home to my students."

Although her students' next performance is scheduled for Thursday, May 28, and thus won't be able to incorporate what she will learn on her trip, Sherlock is hoping she will get a chance to bring back a little Blues to Lake County in the near future.

"At some point after I complete the workshop, I would like to share what I've learned with the community," said Sherlock.