Former art teacher creates ripple effect


Photo contributed by Keily Conchas

Former art teacher Nicholas VanNote recently resigned. New art teacher Kayla Shouse has taken his spot.

Emma Sprague, Reporter

She cried after art teacher Nicholas VanNote’s resignation from SHS. Now, junior Keily Conchas remembers what ripple he left in the pool of art students while she was in his art classes. The administration is now in the process of finding a new art teacher, and the current ones at SHS are working to fill the hole that has been made since he left.

Conchas is one of the students who says she enjoyed VanNote’s class because of the way he cared for all of his students. She says that VanNote stood out among other teachers that she has had at SHS because he was able to form relationships with his students, a good quality Conchas considers for teachers to posses. VanNote’s teaching style, to Conchas, was labeled as “laid back.” In an email from VanNote he said that he taught this way, because he wanted to give students a lot of independence, because that’s how he learns and “that’s how real life is.”

“The atmosphere was always really calm,” Conchas said. “It was really easy to work in an environment like that.”

Junior Yanina Gojko agrees with Conchas, saying that his class was usually not stressful, as it was not “overbearing” like other classes she has taken at SHS. She also said that in his class “deadlines weren’t the end of the world,” which is what contributed to the stress-free environment that was VanNote’s art class. VanNote came to understand that the students that cared would put in the work, and produce what they worked for.

“My students taught me to be more open to things and the idea of change.” VanNote said in the email. “They have made me a more adaptive person.”

Gojko also adds that she likes all of the art teachers that are currently teaching at SHS, however, since VanNote was a younger teacher, he was easier to relate to for her. This is one of the factors that lead to the formation of better relationships between VanNote and his students.

“His classes were usually really structured,” Gojko said. “Now that he’s gone, it’s not like it was when he was here.”

Students in his classes now have a long-term substitute teacher, but the current art teachers help to plan out the class entirely. Art teacher Breanna Bierod explained that, as of now, she and fellow art teacher Bruce Thompson are the ones covering VanNote’s classes.The situation is considered “crazy” to Bierod. She began to cover the morning classes that no longer had a teacher because, at the time, she only had afternoon classes of her own. Although Bierod is new to SHS, she notices that students had a strong liking for VanNote and that he made an impact on their lives. She even said that there are students that took art specifically to have VanNote as a teacher. She was never really able to get to know him, but the descriptions that were given by the students about VanNote was enough for her to conclude that he was a good teacher.

Missing VanNote, Gojko wishes that he knows the students miss him. She says that she hopes that he is doing well in his time off. Since the resignation took place the ripple effect that he had on his students throughout the art department has shown. As he writes that he thinks they are “light years ahead” of where he was in highschool and yet have gone through challenges and difficulties, he wrote that he is “so proud of all of (his students).”