Minor named graduation speaker


Amanda Roth

Fire and glaze– Art teacher Andrew Minor goes over the parameters of the current ceramics project for the Ceramics class. Minor has been teaching at the high school for the past eight years and is the first art teacher to ever be nominated as the graduation speaker.

Stefan Izydorczak, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Each year, the senior class votes on the prestigious graduation speaker. This year, art teacher Andrew Minor was voted by the senior class to speak at graduation on June 20.

“Teaching in the ivory tower that is the third floor places me out of the eye of many students. I want to thank those seniors who took one elective class with me and based on that experience decided to vote for me. It only makes this honor more special to know that a core group of seniors encouraged their friends to pick me, especially when there are many more distinguished faculty members to choose from,” Minor said.

Minor has been teaching ceramics at the high school for eight years, and he is the first ever art teacher to be nominated as a graduation speaker in the high school’s history. While Minor teaches the basics of art, he also tries to give his students intellectual knowledge that they will use outside of the art world.

“Teaching art, which is a passion of mine, in an excellent school system is something that I do not take for granted. Using art as a vehicle to inculcate students with positive values that could effect real change in the world inspires me to keep getting out of bed in the morning. Farmington High School is a conglomeration of people and collaborating with all of those people is what really gives my job meaning and affects how I feel,” Minor said.

According to Art Department Leader Julie Sawyer, Minor teaches his students these positive values through his meaningful relationships with them.

“Mr. Minor has great rapport with his students.  This is, in part, because he creates a positive environment in his classroom and also because he really cares about his students.  He is an attentive listener and also has a great sense of humor,” Sawyer said.

Prior to working at the high school, Minor worked at two different schools in Vernon. He also has worked as a carpenter and with 18 to 25 year olds with mental health and addiction issues in a residential setting as well as having served in the Army National Guard. According to Minor, what sets working at the high school apart is the faculty.

“There are a lot of great things about teaching and teaching art specifically, but FHS has some really spectacular faculty. When you work with a team it is important that you want to collaborate with the people you are teaching with and the Art Department is a small but mighty team. I feel comfortable knowing that we support each other. There are also other great teachers that I enjoy collaborating with and of course a nice group of students as well,” Minor said.

Teaching an elective subject, Minor has the opportunity to teach students across four years. One of those students is senior Michael Costello who has known Minor since freshman year through Art Club. According to Costello, Minor encouraged him to take art in high school which influenced his decision to pursue art in college.

“When I started out, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. He helped me find my style junior year, and then senior year, he helped critique me and move me to have an individual approach to art. He tells you what you need to hear because he knows what you can do and that’s what he helps you work towards,” Costello said.

At graduation, Minor looks to offer practical advice to seniors as they venture out.

“Student debt is a serious burden, and you should not take it lightly. Wasting class time in high school is difficult to pinpoint how much it actually costs you. When you break down the cost of tuition, room, and board every college class is worth a big chunk of change. Keep your long term plans flexible and your short term objectives precise, that way you continue moving forward. But when things go wrong, you’re not overwhelmed by failed expectations,” Minor said.