UNICORNS FOR MRS. DEE by Mrs. Michael, NNE's Art Teacher

Unicorns for Mrs. Dee is a school-wide art display in honor of my sweet friend, DeAnna Garner aka “Mrs. Dee”. If you did not have the pleasure to know her, Mrs. Dee was the art teacher at the Martha Reid Leadership Academy in Mansfield ISD. She was an amazing person inside and out, and an inspiring and phenomenal art teacher to work with. She was the first welcoming “art peep” I meet when I switched over to MISD.  I had the pleasure of knowing her for the past 14 years and calling her my friend. Unicorns for Mrs. Dee was my way to honor her in her fight for cancer which she lost in October 2020.

As a campus, our students were excited to participate in a way to let her art students over at Martha Reid know that we support them during this time. Even our virtual students participated creating their own unicorns. If you look closely at the unicorn drawings you will see that many students chose to add Mrs. Dee’s name to the heart on their unicorns. I especially appreciated how respectful our boys have been while we were creating the unicorns. At first they were reluctant, but when they learned why I wanted to create unicorns they became inspired and wanted to support the students at Reid as well to show them that we are thinking of them. We celebrate Mrs. Dee and all she is!

There is a story behind the Unicorn…Mrs. Dee was known by her friends, colleagues, students, and family as the Unicorn Warrior. She loved all things rainbowy, glittery, and unicorny. When we went through the beginning of quarantine after spring break last March, Mrs. Dee was making art videos for her students just like a lot of us art teachers were. She did a unicorn tutorial video for her little artists and this project was based off of her drawing. Mrs. Dee had way of inspiring others to be like her. When I first met Dee 14 years ago, I remember thinking, “I want to be Mrs. Dee when I grow up”. Mrs. Dee contained natural leadership qualities…people were naturally drawn to her. It has been said by her family that Dee did not just show up, she “arrived”, which is so true! She had a laugh that was so loud and joyous that even if you did not know why she was laughing…you automatically started laughing too. Her laughter was contagious. She was an amazing, beautiful person inside and out and she is greatly missed.

I wanted to take the opportunity to share who she was with my students school-wide, K-4th grade. Many of my students already knew her because anytime parents asked where a good summer art camp could be found, I never hesitated recommending them to attend Mrs. Dee’s camp. I knew they would adore her as much as I did and still do, and that they would be better for having the opportunity to experience the uniquely amazing Mrs. Dee. I wanted to create a school-wide art exhibit to bring some color into our school during a difficult time of adjusting to school during a pandemic. This seemed to be a perfect opportunity to honor a dear friend and colleague while bringing happiness to the halls of Nancy Neal Elementary. It is also a tribute that I am able to see every day as my heart heals over her loss.

Mrs. Michael honoring Mrs. Dee