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The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

Stained Paint in Education

Megan Glass
American Studies teacher Janessa Bower explains how she finds inspiration in literature.

The influence of art carries deep within every individual, even if it is not apparent to said person. As people go through their lives, they slowly take in new forms of art that influence who they later become. From searching museums for new information to listening to music in solitude, art shapes a person’s character. Art, through forms of literature, music and film, help establish values, deepen understanding of the world, and alter perspectives on life. 

As teachers continue to educate the student body, they inspire pupils with books and art that they hold dear. Art that resonates with the soul can be applied through their teaching style by using said artistic characteristics into a form that helps students learn. 

“There are many pieces of art that inspired me, but I believe Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling was most inspiring,” IB English teacher Larell Bissett said. “When you see the Sistine Chapel, you know that there is no substitute for talent and I really appreciate excellence of any kind.” 

Bissett explains how she enjoys seeing this type of effort in her class as well through motivated students and deep thinkers. She also thoroughly enjoyed the book, “Aztec” by Gary Jennings because it was highly researched for 12 years. This shows how she appreciates art with true effort. 

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“I am at a place in my life where no one dictates what I read,” Janessa Bower, American Studies teacher said. “So, I have lost the ability to read anything other than the most important book to me at that moment,”

Bower elucidates how she feels about books that don’t directly speak to her soul in a manner that she continues the search until she quenches her need. She finds that the books she gravitates towards can be considered life changing and help to provoke one’s mind into deep thought. 

“The first book I ever read that made me aware of expanding my thought base was Speedboat by Renata Adler,” Bower said. “She breaks all the rules. At first, it seems like she’s telling a story, but then she wanders and takes her reader along for the ride. To read is to engage in a thought discussion. I am most interested in books that help me do that, whether that is a novel, a memoir, book of essays, or nonfiction.”

Not only do forms of literature shape one’s way of thinking and perceiving reality, but music that fills the silence in a time of transition or disparity can be even more cathartic. The flow between songs in an album takes the listener through an array of emotions that foster relatability and understanding. 

“An art piece that was transformative for me would be the Ride the Lightning album by Metallica,” American Studies teacher Caryn Rooke said. “When I first heard this album, I was in my teens and I found that I could relate with a lot of the songs on the album.”

As Rooke went through a difficult stage in her life during high school by moving across the country from New Jersey to Texas in a town where she knew not a soul, the music was there as a sense of security. Growing up in New Jersey, she had an understanding of who she was and what social dynamic she belonged to through her participation in sports. However in Texas, the sports teams popular in the Northeast were not present in the South, leaving Rooke with a difficult time fitting in. 

“It took a while to get acclimated to the different culture,” Rooke said. “Football and cheerleading seemed to be the thread that held everything together in Texas and that was not anything like I had experienced in New Jersey.” 

Rooke took this experience as an opportunity to dive deeper into the world of music and find connection within. By listening to the song, “Trapped Under Ice” in the album, she felt like she could take on any challenge she faced.

“It was the music of Metallica that helped me get through the first part of my junior year because in that music I had something that I could connect to,” Rooke said. “It was something that didn’t make me feel alone, something that helped me be a stronger person.”

Each piece of art a person absorbs is another piece of their complex internal character. It continues their journey of slowly forming their true self and removing identification labels that restrict growth because they learn that the art they take in is only another part of their soul. 

“[The music] was comfort, it brought me joy and it helped me begin to realize who I was and who I could be,” Rooke said. “It was one of the first of many evolutions in the history of me.”

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