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Hometown Hero: Cara Bowerman of Edmond, Oklahoma

This teacher and coach didn’t let a horrible car accident stop her from helping students

Cara Bowerman had just learned to walk when she stepped into the classroom at Edmonton North High School on her first day as a teacher and a coach.

Recovering from multiple fractures from an automobile accident, the 22-year-old confesses she doubted her career choice.

“I had just learned to walk again,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘I barely have my life together. How am I going to teach a hundred kids about what I love?’”

She soon realized how much students could teach her.

Learning together

“Helping students get through their problems helped me get through my own issues. It’s like spreading the light was lighting up my life, too,” she says. “Teaching has been the greatest growing experience of my life.”

Bowerman, now a six-year teaching veteran, stresses real-world applications in her classes.

As head girls’ track and cross-country coach, Bowerman gives her athletes a great outlet for dealing with stress. Her art classes equip students with lifelong tools for coping with fears, traumatic experiences, or just the general difficulties of life.

“I’ve always used art as a way to heal,” she says. “It’s especially hard to process feelings as a teenager, to break out of that cycle and heal. That’s how I present art to my students. We have a curriculum, but it’s also a real-world tool.”

That approach resonates with students. “In the classroom, Cara has created an atmosphere of trust and creativity where her students thrive and feel safe,” says Debreon Davis, principal of Edmond North High School, where Bowerman was honored as the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year.

Art, for Cara, is as much about health as exercise. “I see students having healthier mindsets and healthier behaviors when they’re incorporating art into their daily life,” she says.

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