Reneé de Bellevue
De Bellevue retires after 30 years spent teaching art
Crowley High art teacher Reneé de Bellevue has retired after a 30-year career in education.
“You know, I never really worked a day in my life because I have always loved what I did,” de Bellevue said. “Love what you do and do what you love is a motto that I live by. This motto I will carry into retirement.”
Coming out of school, de Bellevue taught art at Acadiana High School for four years while she developed her skills in advertising design. “I saw a real need in the classroom for developing skills that could be used in the work place.”
Those skills brought de Bellevue to California, where she worked in the advertising and film industry for a while. But her roots were in Crowley, dating back to her grandfather, Cassius Barbin de Bellevue, who came to Crowley in 1910 as an attorney and served as District Attorney of the 15th Judicial District from 1936 until his death in 1941.
“I feel strongly about the versatility of art in education and my greatest contributions and accomplishment in education has been to use a variety of teaching strategies that integrate art with other disciplines in an effort to show students the connection among academic, real work and the work place,” she explained.
“I combined art theories, high levels of critical thinking, cooperative learning and applied practices with other subject matter. I was determined to bring team work to education and prepare my students for life and its challenges and to give the students opportunities for growth. My students were encouraged to make connections and comparisons across subjects and to apply learning to new situations.”
The duty of a teacher, according to de Bellevue, is to enable the student to feel successful in the subject area and as a person.
“With teaching in my heart – and as a life-time commitment – I have always enjoyed the thrill of working with young people and seeing them grow toward maturity,” she said. “I feel like my knowledge and work experience as an art educator and in the advertising and film industry have played an important role in the classroom and in developing career goals for the students.
“If students put their minds to it, there is no limit to what they can achieve. All I ever wanted to do was to unlock their dreams to learning. My goal was to show students that there is stimulation from looking at art and in making art, and that art is all about doing and learning.
“I hope my students not only see things differently and more critically, but that they see different things so that as they grow and mature, they’ll have an appreciation for the arts.”
But de Bellevue’s commitment to art education in Crowley and Acadia Parish was not restricted to the classroom.
She was selected by the Acadiana Arts Council to represent Acadia Parish in Louisiana’s Decentralized Arts Funding Program. Panelists were solicited from art organizations, community groups, mayors and legislators. As a panelist, de Bellevue spent time making important decisions and thoughtful evaluations of each grant application which resulted in a variety of qualified programs for the Acadiana region.
She was instrumental, along with the Acadia Parish School Board and in cooperation with the Acadiana Arts Council, in presenting multicultural, multisensory performances to the elementary and secondary schools across the parish
To showcase her students’ artwork, de Bellevue arranged exhibitions at the Acadia Parish Public Library in Crowley, at Crowley Building and Loan Association and at the Art House in Lafayette.
An accomplished and award-winning artist in her own right, de Bellevue taught art at the Summer Enrichment Camps sponsored by the mayor and the city. Crowley High’s “Teacher of the Year” for two consecutive years, de Bellevue was nominated for the Governor’s Arts Award and to represent Acadia Parish for the Friend of Education Award.
She’s held professional membership in the Acadiana Arts Council, the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana, Crowley and Lafayette Art Associations, Louisiana Association of Educators, Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education, Louisiana Arts Education Association, University Art Museum and the Artist’s Alliance, where she served as vice president of programming and on the board of directors.
“My journey teaching art has been sweet, rewarding and fun and I will definitely miss all of my students,” de Bellevue said. “My want for them is to aim high and to follow their dreams in life and to succeed.
“I will also miss the faculty and the administration at Crowley High School. I will forever be loyal to Crowley High and the green and gold.”