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Painting a New Picture

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Painting a New Picture

New art teacher JJ Garcia presents his final project to the class, a reflection of a time in their life using an art style they learned in their time with him.

New art teacher JJ Garcia presents his final project to the class, a reflection of a time in their life using an art style they learned in their time with him.

New art teacher JJ Garcia presents his final project to the class, a reflection of a time in their life using an art style they learned in their time with him.

New art teacher JJ Garcia presents his final project to the class, a reflection of a time in their life using an art style they learned in their time with him.

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It’s not every year the Art department receives a new addition to their staff. In fact, the last time a new Art teacher was introduced at Alisal was almost two decades ago when Jose Gil first started. However, this year saw the addition of Alisal Class of 2001 alum Jose Julio Garcia, (also known as JJ to the wrestling team), as the new Art teacher.

Students taking Art 1-2 and Art 3-4 received their 2016-2017 schedules with either Gil or Woody Woodson. The school year for Art students with Gil was smooth for about the first week until his attendance became inconsistent, due to his becoming the Athletic Director. Art 1-2 student Tony Coronado said,” First Quarter of art was just substitutes. It wasn’t until Mr. Garcia became our teacher did we actually get taught art.” First quarter for these students consisted of substitute after substitute overseeing work Gil had left behind. Students were left to teach themselves with the aid of videos and the occasional helpful substitute. Coronado adds, “We were left to teach ourselves things like how to shade and left to do the projects Gil assigned.”

The class had a complete change of pace with the addition of Garcia. An Alisal alum, Garica had returned to Alisal 11 years prior. In his time here, he has held the position as head wrestling coach, along with spending seven years as the school’s behavioral specialist, and two years as a substitute in a school he considers home.  A CSU Chico grad, Garcia had college experience with art, “I majored in Graphic Design. I had to take a lot of art classes, traditional art classes along with visual concepts.”

Garcia’s connection with art spans before becoming the new art teacher, spending time in his personal art room at home in his free time. Now as an art teacher he tries to incorporate several concepts aside from just the basic introductions to colors and drawing techniques.  “Some people liked watercolor, some people hated it, some people loved pointillism and others hated it. Art is for everybody, but you got to find what it is that you like, that’s the whole point of introducing you to something new,” says Garcia. There’s always fun to be had in the class as well as being able to introduced to new concepts. Freshman Cynthia Hernandez adds,”You can tell he tries to make this class as fun as possible.”

Garcia now sits as teacher in the class he once sat in as student of Gil. An advanced art student, Garcia’s life has come full circle and now sits teaching the next generation of art students saying, “Teaching was not the initial idea, but I kept coming back to Alisal and here I am feeling like I won the lottery.”

His return to Alisal was based around wrestling, “I was a senior when my brother was a freshman so I followed him through his [Wrestling] career and coached him his senior year and when I graduated straight out of college they hired me as a JV coach. I was 23-24 years old and the head varsity coach position came up and all of a sudden here I am taking over a program. 12 years have gone by and I’m wondering ‘Did I blink’. As the Art teacher, Garcia expands his horizons to multiple students rather than the select group he once taught stating, “First year students aren’t given six periods, but taking over for Gil I took over the six classes. I’m running without learning to walk.”

Approached by Principal Ernesto Garcia, Garcia had his eye on the class ever since the news of Gil’s new position was heard. “I went through the normal motions as any other teacher, doing a credential program, taking a year maybe two of classes, doing these at any free time I have. On top of teaching and coaching now figuring any loose minutes you have to be able to do what’s needed. It can be overwhelming and will be. I feel prepared and nervous at the same time.There are days where you wake up with no energy but still find ways to do it, the kids keep me motivated and happy, they’re happy with me I suppose.”

As this school year ends, Garcia awaits to what will happen next year. He hopes he’ll be able to come back next year. He plans to finish his teaching credential program regardless of the position being up, as well as continuing as the head wrestling coach. “Positions open up. Maybe they’ll still think of me in a year or two. Nothing is guaranteed. You got to make your own luck happen.”

 

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Painting a New Picture