TIFTON — The Kiwanis Club of Tifton recently presented the Kiwanis Arts Citizen of the Year Award to Mrs. Betsy Jones.
The Kiwanis Club sponsors an annual Art and Music Showcase which allows local students the opportunity to demonstrate their talents in a competitive atmosphere.
The showcase was cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Participating contestants are in grades 4-12 and students of a Tift County public, private, or home school.
At the state level of competition, a total of $15,000 in educational scholarships is awarded to winners in the 9-12th grade levels.
Jones is a music teacher at Annie Belle Clark Elementary School in Tifton, Georgia. She graduated in 1988 from Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, where she sang in the chorus along with playing cello in the orchestra.
She graduated from Baylor University with a BS in Education in 1993. In the spring of 2020, she completed her 26th year of teaching.
She enjoys using the Quaver Music Curriculum in her classroom as a fun way to teach her students music . She was honored with an “Excellence in Teaching Award” in November 2012 by the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.
She organizes multiple music programs at the school including a recent fall concert in November 2019 with the fourth grade students “Honoring our Veterans and First Responders.”
The K-5 elementary school children also perform in the Sweets and Songs Dessert Buffet and Choral Showcase each January at Tift County High School.
She has coordinated programs such as Dancing Drum’s “Artist in Residence” for kindergarten through fifth grade students over the past 10 years, along with Family Drumming Night.
During the coronavirus pandemic, she provided interactive technology lessons using Quaver Music, along with creating music playlists for students to enjoy at home.
She is a cellist, playing since she was in the third grade. She is part of the local Mannheim Musicians group.
She has performed in numerous venues, including the Albany Symphony, the Valdosta Symphony, the ABAC First Tuesday Concert Series, Christmas Concerts, weddings, receptions, and other various local performances.
She has performed at the Tifton First United Methodist Church, TCHS Tifton Christmas Spectacular, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton First Baptist Church, Northside Baptist Orchestra and ABAC Chorus Concerts.
Jones lives in Tifton with her husband, Jonathan, and has three children, Will, Becca, and Hays.
She attends Northside Baptist Church and serves on the Young Life Committee.
The criteria for this award are:
An individual who has supported or is currently supporting, encouraging, and enhancing the arts for children in Tift County. The designation of ARTS encompasses (painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, metal work, graphic design, mixed media, crafts, or video media) and MUSIC (vocal or instrumental).
The recipient may be nominated for endeavors in either art or music or both.
The recipient may be a public or private school employee, a private teacher, a volunteer, a public or private agency employee or a community activist.
Jones received a plaque which read, “Kiwanis Club of Tifton, 2020 Arts Citizen of the Year Award, Betsy Jones, For excelling in supporting, encouraging, and enhancing the arts for children in Tift County, March 27, 2020.”A yard sign was also provided to announce her award.
Previous recipients of the Art Citizen of the Year award were Jerry Walker in 2014, Pam Lovett in 2015, Gina Lawhon in 2016, Scot Rains in 2017, and Vincent Kessee in 2018.