Creating Artists

Student creativity shines at Rancho Bernardo High School (RBHS). Visual arts classes give young artists a chance to discover new passions and develop talent, under the guidance of RBHS’s dedicated art teachers. Available classes dive deep into traditional and digital media, offering a variety of fields to explore. Digital Media students produce a regular news broadcast called Bronco TV for the whole school, as well as student films and covering live events. Screen Printing and Photography students learn how to use technology to blend art and design. We speak with teachers Miriam Larson and Paul Messerle to learn more.

left to right: Ben Steelhead, Paul Messerle, Miriam Larson, Monica Royal

left to right: Ben Steelhead, Paul Messerle, Miriam Larson, Monica Royal

Q&A with Miriam Larson, Drawing and Painting Teacher

cv_rbhsartdept7What is the program’s mission, and how do you work towards that mission?
Our mission is to offer a means of self-expression through various types of media, as well as encourage college and career readiness to any student who seeks to discover their personal meaning and satisfaction through the visual arts.

What is your professional background, and what sparked your interest in teaching art?
Making art is the thing that has always inspired my life. I have been doing arts and crafts since I was in grade school. Because I get joy from practicing art, it is a natural fit for me to teach others to make art. I got my B.S. in Art Education from Penn State in the late 1970s. When money was most important to me, I worked in sales and marketing for many years. Now, personal satisfaction is the main focus of my work life, so I decided to use my credential.

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artist Samantha Marlin


Profile Information

Name: Miriam Larson
Profession: Teacher
Education: B.S. in Art Education; M.A. in Education
Hobbies & Interests: Metalsmithing, drawing and painting, travel


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How did you personally become involved with the department?
I applied for a screen printing teaching job that was advertised and got the position. I found that I loved working with high school kids. They are at the beginning of their journey into their adult lives and full of promise. They are smart, fun, playful, and inquisitive. Teaching them art was my dream job! When I had the chance to teach other art classes I moved into the Drawing and Painting and Design in Mixed Media classrooms. I also started a jewelry class here three years ago.

What is the most rewarding part of your role? The most challenging?
I love when a student comes into my classroom and thinks they can’t draw. Through teaching them basic skills and introducing drawing and painting projects step by step, they find that they can draw better than they had ever hoped. I explain that all artists are on a continuum of learning
skill and if they stick with it they will get better and better.

The most challenging part of my job is to engage students that don’t enjoy school.

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artist Danielle Manlapid

What have been some of the most popular projects for the students? Any particular highlights from this year?
The gridded portrait is the project where students see that they can draw. It is always rewarding. Soldering rings is a popular project in Jewelry, and making tin masks is a favorite in Design and Mixed Media. Our AP artists always provide an array of incredible talent.

How have the classes grown or changed over the years?
Our class size is about 38 students per period. That number has increased from 30 since I started teaching. We always try to provide electives that are popular among the students.

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left to right: Leia Mileto, Samantha Marlin, Gabby Le, Danielle Manlapid, Miriam Larson


Bronco Visual Arts Teachers

Ben Steelhead, Screen Printing
Miriam Larson, Drawing and Painting
Monica Royal, Photography
Paul Messerle, Computer Graphic Arts
Ross Kalen, Digital Media

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left to right: Basma Bahia, Monica Royal, Victoria Smith, Max Harris, Daniel North


Bronco Visual Arts Classes

3D Animation
AP Art History
AP Studio Art
Computer Graphic Arts
Design in Mixed Media
Digital Media Production
Drawing and Painting
Jewelry
Photography
Screen printing


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artist Maxwell Harris

RBHS Art Program At-A-Glance

School: Rancho Bernardo High School
Address: 13010 Paseo Lucido, San Diego, CA 92128
Phone: 858-485-4800
Website: www.rbhs.org


Q&A with Paul Messerle, Computer Graphic Arts Teacher

cv_rbhsartdept5What is your professional background, and what sparked your interest in teaching art?
I have taught at RBHS for 23 years and was briefly a museum educator before that. I am a second-generation teacher and feel most at home in the classroom setting. I was the Teacher of the Year for both Rancho Bernardo High School and Poway Unified School District in 2015, and a San Diego County Teacher of the Year in 2016.

How did you personally become involved with the department?
The courses that I teach are deeply personal, as they mirrored my own life interests and courses studied when I was in college. Within a year of me being hired in 1996, I spearheaded the creation of classes that would expand the Art Department’s offerings, namely, Animation, Computer Graphic Art, and AP Art History. Each course offering has evolved and become streamlined over time to match the multiple learning modalities of its enrollees.


Profile Information

Name: Paul Messerle
Profession: Teacher
Education: A.A. in Art/Illustration; B.A. in Art Education; M.A. in Art
Hobbies & Interests: Animation, art history, comics, Halloween, and superheroes


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artist Leia Mileto

What is the most rewarding part of your role? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing my students thrive in class, achieve their college and career goals, and return to share their experiences with current students. Three alumni serve as professional advisors for our annual CTE Advisory Committee, which validates the pathway and the need for our programs. The most challenging aspect of my role is staying abreast of the newest technologies and software, all while making assignments not only rigorous but relevant to the students’ lives and interests.

cv_rbhsartdept6What have been some of the most popular projects for the students? Any particular highlights from this year?
Student project favorites include The Alchemist’s Studio, a 3D generated environment where a student tells their autobiography using objects created to represent key moments in their life, while also including an item rendered in a precious metal to represent their future career or life goal. Like the Medieval alchemists, students are taking the ‘base metal’ of their lives and turning it into gold! The 3D environments range in a spectrum from the archaic to the futuristic.

What are some ways that community members can contribute?
We are always welcoming financial donations that go towards art, printing, and display supplies.

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artist Victoria Smith

How have the classes grown or changed over the years?
Classes have evolved with the changing expectations of the media, newer technologies, and student demand.

What are the plans or goals for the future of art at RBHS?
We would like to investigate providing more art elective sections and re-introducing more traditional classes like ceramics that would offer a breadth to our current overall offerings.