Four New Arts Teacher Here At South


Cynthia Berger, Thomas Willicombe, David Olsen

Fanta Diallo, Staff Writer

Due to the high level of interest in art here at south, the school made an effort to hire four new art teachers, Cynthia Berger, Corbyn Doty, Thomas Willicombe, and David Olson. The new teachers plan on encouraging students to use art as a format to get their voices and ideas heard.

Before hiring any new teachers, the school tries to identify what the students at South may have an interest in learning, in this case it was art. This will then swing them into the long process of hiring the teachers to fill in those roles; a teacher that is being considered for the job will have to have an arts license, a teaching degree and experience working with high school students. The candidates are then, interviewed by current south high school teacher who have worked in that department before, to identify if they fit in with south high school’s mission statement that declares “We support students as they develop critical thinking skills…for success in a culturally diverse, technology-driven, global society”

Thomas Willicombe the school’s new drawing teacher in room 206B heard about the job opening at south. As a candidate for the job, Willicombe was asked to interview “I think what sold me was Mr. Aponte, we had an informal interview and I thought to myself… I wouldn’t mind having him as my principle”. Willicombe who lived in Wisconsin prior to his job acceptance moved to Minnesota, and has only been living here for two months, hopes that the love he discovered for art in college can bring another layer to his classrooms.

In room 204, Ms. Cynthia Berger the new arts teacher laughed when asked why she decided to come to south. “South has a great reputation, teachers are happy here, and I think the students are happy here”. Berger knew Denny Sponcer, a former ceramics teacher at south. They’ve known each other for eighteen years, and he encouraged her to apply for the job position here at south. He let her know about the job opening, and she took the initiative to place herself as a candidate for the job opening. Ms. Berger although having only been here for a short amount of time feels as though her favorite part about being at south is the students “ their amazing, they’re all hard working students”

Corbyn Doty is our not so new photography and design teacher in room 203. Mr. Doty actually started last year November, after he had just completed being a substitute at another school. Doty recalled “it was really good timing, I had just finished a substituting gig and then I was asked to come here. It was perfect really.”

David Olson is our new ceramics teacher here. Before he moved to the arts department at south, Olson worked in the community ed office. Olson has a bachelor degree in fine arts from the University of Minnesota, and a couple of years ago was able to travel to Korea and teach art there. He feel as if everyone in the art department has something great to offer “I think it’s a good team, we have a mix experienced teachers and younger ones and we all have new ideas”.

The art department’s next steps are to encourage students to use their art as a way to send powerful messages.  Mr. Olson’s ceramics students have the opportunity to participate in Empty Bowls. Empty Bowls is a charity that raises awareness to hunger. Students get to make bowls and donate them to the empty bowls foundation. In the process student’s get the chance to feed a person who may have gone hungry otherwise. The teachers at south are also in the process of getting a printmaking class. They’re also starting talk of having an after school public arts course, that would closely get involved in the community as they great murals and mosaics.

The south high schools art team have all become quite good friends here at south. Everyday they have lunch together in what they like to call the “art cave”. The art cave room is a small dark space behind  Mr. Doty’s photography class, where the teachers feel comfortable enough to witty and hilarious. They have created a little community within themselves, and when asked if he and the other teachers felt isolated,  Willicombe joked “. Gladly…no, everyone here at south really are welcoming”.