* ... ART'S FAREWELL: I attended the retirement party for Art Sherwyn, the popular Stockdale High School art teacher who has left a lasting imprint on so many students, colleagues and friends over the years. If the measure of a life can be judged by an event like this, then Art Sherwyn has certainly done something right. Teachers, friends, former students and family members showed up at the Bakersfield Museum of Art to testify to the ability of one person - in this case a teacher - to profoundly influence the direction of one's life. His two children, Liz and Ben, gave moving tributes to their father, as did several former students of Art's when he was at Wasco High School. Sherwyn is best known as an artist, but I know him from his time guiding my younger daughter on the Stockdale girls tennis team. And I will you he was an artist there as well.
* ... THREE SONS: It's not often that you have three sons in the same family celebrating graduations at the same time, but that's the case with John and Angela Genter. Their son Brock is graduating from CSUB with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. He was also named biology student of the year and is working for the Forest Service and studying for the MCATS. Son Aaron is also graduating from CSUB with a degree in business. He works for Lightspeed Systems as a sales force administrator. And finally, son Evan is graduating from Frontier High School with a not too shabby 4.2 GPA. He is headed for the Colorado School of Mines where he will be studying to become a petroleum engineer. Congrats to John, who is chief operating officer at Lightspeed, and wife Angela.
* ... GOOD NEWS: Reader Shelley Cauzza dropped this nice note: "I meant to write a while back, then forgot, then was re-inspired by today's (Friday's) column I can't tell you how much I appreciate the good news in your column. I was very pleased to see your comments about Jacob Frost and University of Colorado. I was his first grade teacher (and his younger brother's a few years later) and I can tell you he was a great kid back then. I wasn't surprised to see what he had accomplished. He had the heart of a lion back then. But proud to know him, for sure. And his parents deserve a round of applause too. Carol was probably one of the most amazing mothers I have ever met. Here I am 10 or so years later raising my own kids, and I pray I am half as good as she is. So, thank you, I enjoy the good news."
* ... ENGINEER: And then there is Don McCuan, a 2000 graduate from Wasco High School who will be getting his master's in geology at CSUB. Dan worked for his father's window business but was inspired by Bakersfield College geology professor Natalie Burzstyn to pursue a career in petroleum geology. He is finishing his thesis in time to start work as a professional geophysicist at Occidental Petroleum in just a couple of weeks. While in graduate school at CSUB, he worked as a research assistant on a prestigious National Science Foundation grant to the Geology Department.
Art Sherwyn has been a friend and mentor for years as well as art teacher to one of my sons. He is contagiously enthusiastic, humble and inclusive. He draws lessons from life and shares them liberally. I missed the retirement party due to illness but celebrate his friendship and support and wish him a well-deserved next chapter.
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