2003 Medal of Arts Recipients
Rafe Esquith has been a fifth grade teacher for 18 years at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in Los Angeles. Esquith's students, who come from immigrant Central American and Korean families, many of whom speak English as a second language, are given a rigorous education grounded in the arts. This includes studying a musical instrument and one of Shakespeare's plays for the entire year. Students then perform that play at Shakespeare festivals round the country. Esquith's dedicated teaching has resulted in his students' consistent scoring in the top five to 10 percent nationally on standardized tests. Awards he has received for his teaching include the Walt Disney American Teacher Award for National Teacher of the Year and Parents magazine's national "As You Grow Award."
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency