Cultural Arts Programs

The Arts at McDougle Elementary School

Since the school opened in 1996, MES has demonstrated its strong commitment to the arts, which we view as an important aspect of making this mission and vision a reality for all students. The MES arts curriculum is based on the Common Core and NC Essential Standards. The MES arts faculty - including Alice Zincone as the art teacher and Emma Lincoln as the music teacher - plan and implement an academically engaging and enriching arts curriculum for the entire student body. Below are images from this year's 4th grade face jug program, led by Ms. Zincone and Jadon Abide.

Additionally, in order to enhance and complement the school’s arts curriculum, the MES PTA Cultural Arts Program aims to sponsor supplemental arts programming. Thanks to the Dolphin community's generosity along with funding provided by the Orange County Arts Commission, the MES PTA Cultural Arts Program will once again coordinate with the fifth grade team to bring Mr. Phillip Shabazz's poetry residency to MES. Samples of poems from the 2022 and 2021 programs appear below. 

We are grateful for many years of OCAC grant funding support, which has enabled the PTA to consistently offer supplemental arts instruction to MES students. We thank them for helping us to fund this year's poetry residency with local poet Philip Shabazz for all MES 5th grade students. More information about the Orange County Arts Commission is on its website. More information about Mr. Shabazz is available on his website.  

For questions and opportunities regarding the cultural arts at MES, please reach out to Heather Thompson

2023 Face Jug Project - 4th Grade

May 2023 5th Grade Poetry Residency 

We were thrilled to welcome the poet Phillip Shabazz back at MES for another year of amazing work with our fifth graders, inspiring them to write creatively and encouraging them to be empowered by their own words and expression! Mr. Shabazz is one of the most loved and appreciated artists-in-residence who has been instructing our fifth grade dolphins for many years now. This empowering residency combines performing arts, theatre, history and character education. Welcome back Mr. Shabazz! 

This program is supported by the Orange County Arts Commission and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Matching financial support is provided by the MES PTA. More information about the Orange County Arts Commission is available at More information about Mr. Shabazz is available on his website at  


by Andrew P.

Some days I'm firecraking red 

full of energy and smart remarks 

like a wild bull 

ready to attack the world

other days im faded gray

rumpled and crumpled 

careless and useless 

soggy and sleepy 

and all worn out

but watch out folks 

cause im red today

I am a girl

by Ola Mae N-J

I am a girl and people shame me on that .

I am a girl and people blame me on that.

I am a girl but do I want to be?

people make me feel blue.

skirts, short tops, yellow, purple, and pink shoes,

I go to the mall and try coming out,

 but no one notices how I feel like goo.

sweats, hoodies jackets to,

I guess I am cool and don't have to be new.


by Josie M.


Different light and 

it just might 

make you feel like a kite

sunlight is warm familiar and natural

moon light,crisp cool night mirrors sunlight

warm light, with its orange tinge 

reminds me of a theater before the binge

Blue light, makes things unseen reveal itself

in the most extraordinary way

little light, makes me want to lay

cool light, makes me concentrate and feel fresh

almost like i'm looking through mesh

then the light of love makes me feel so grateful

I almost can't explain

the light light of pain makes me feel ashame

then I only want to feel reassured 

and it feels like its reaching into my heart

the light of ill makes me cough

and the taste of tart medicine seeping down my throat

the light of calm is like drifting in a small boat

and keeping it all to myself

Light, light shine oh so bright

The Winner

by Liam Kennealy

As I dribble down the court so fast, 

The basketball speed is an awesome blast. 

I drive for the hoop, I swish and swoosh,

A buzzer beater! I give a victorious hoot.

I take my aim and shoot from the line. 

For an easy two points and a victory sign. 

Free throws I make; more points I gain, 

The crowd erupts with joy and cheer.

Streaking passedm my legs a blur, 

People cheer while they watch and observe. 

Diving down low I spin through the air, 

To score a win and excite the whole square. 

Basketball offers me a symphony of sound, 

And the feeling of success that's won all around.

With a slam of the ball and a cheer in the stands,

My spped and finesse always in command.

2022 Face Jug Project - 4th Grade

2022 Face Jug Project - 5th Grade

2021 5th Grade Poetry Residency

MES_MrShabazz_promotional flyer.pdf

Phillip Shabazz Poetry Residency, May 3rd - May 7th, 2021 

McDougle Elementary School, 5th grade, Chapel Hill, NC 

I will remember…. 

By Ayla Jennings (Ms. Hunt class) 

I will remember Rosa Parks every time I take a seat 

I’ll think of Martin Luther King jr. every time people hear me speak 

I’ll think of Hillary Clinton every time I’m overheard 

And I’ll remember Mahatma Gandhi every time my future seems blurred I will remember Nelson Mandela when I push forward 

I will remember Kamila Harris when my society's future is altered 

I’ll remember Barack Obama when I feel our scars start to heal 

And I will think of Abraham Lincoln when I have to deal with a crazy ordeal I’ll remember Albert Einstein when I make a new discovery 

And I will remember Harriet Tubman when I help others with their journey I’ll think of Helen Keller when I feel things with the heart 

And I will remember Isaac Newton when I figure out something quite smart I’ll think of Frederick Douglass when I stand up for what’s right 

And I’ll think of Amelia Earhart when I lift into flight 

I will remember Buddha when I feel at peace 

And I’ll remember Malala Yousafzai when I feel like I’m finally starting to make a crease I’ll remember Anne Frank when I feel like I have to hide 

And I will think of this world because here my opportunities are wide


By Dimitri Koistinen (Ms. Maher Class) 

Hope is like a new day 

And a fresh new spray. 

Hope is like a light 

And a won fight. 

Hope is like a friendly ghost 

And a broken post. 

Hope is like a bubble 

And not being in trouble. 

Hope is like a perfect pitch 

And a shallow ditch. 

Hope is like perfection 

And a man to give directions. 

Hope is like an awesome rap 

And a treasure map. 

Hope is like an amazing dance 

And a winning chance. 

2019-2020 Performing Arts Performances

Mike Wiley’s Tired Souls, October 23, 2019, one show for 3rd-5th grade students.

Genre: historical drama

Description: Tired souls begins with the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man - the catalyst that inspired Montgomery’s historical bus boycott. Tired Souls also introduces audiences to others who came before Mrs. Parks, who were so instrumental in lighting a fire under the Civil Rights movement and changing the course of U.S. history forever.

This program is supported by the Orange County Arts Commission and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

Charles Pettee, Catch the Bluegrass Bug, February 12, 2020, one show for K-2nd grade students 

Genre: bluegrass music performance

This multi-talented musician employs banjo, harmonica, guitar, mandolin, voice and a variety of hats which introduces you to the wonderful tapestry of sounds that make up the music of the Carolinas: music of the Pilgrims, native Americans, African-Americans , Piedmont Blues, Gospel and Bluegrass. There is never a dull moment as Mr. Pettee switches songs or hats, encouraging rhythmic clapping and spontaneous discussion throughout the show.

This program is supported by the Orange County Arts Commission and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Curious Theatre Collective’s Creekside: The Journey of a Young Activist, March 4, 2020, two shows, all students 

Genre: interactive theatrical performance 

The show tells the story of Mia, a young girl who discovers something wrong with the creek behind her house and sets out to make it better with the help of four famous female environmentalists who happen to wander by. Through music, audience participation, and narrative, students dive into concepts of environmental justice, interconnectedness, youth activism, and responsibility. This show was developed with support from the Orange County Arts Commission.

This program is supported by the Orange County Arts Commission and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

MES_MikeWiley_promotional flyer.pdf
MES_CuriousTheatreCollective_promotional flyer.pdf
MES_CharlesPettee_promotional flyer.pdf