Pink: A Teacher Helps A Teenager Find His Artistic Talent

Feb 28, 2019

Sometimes we don't realize the impact that teachers have had on our lives. Today we'll hear from a student at James H. Ponitz Career Technology Center who says his fourth grade teacher inspired his lifelong passion for art and drawing. 

My name is James, and I know a lot about basketball. I know where the NBA players are from, stats, and the college where they went. But the main thing that everybody knows me from is drawing.

People say, "Wow that's really nice. Did you draw that? You did a great job," and "That's pretty good. You're going to college for this, right? You should."

The main thing I draw is NBA players. My favorite NBA players to draw are Kyrie Irving, LeBron James or even James Harden. Most of the time when I draw, I draw at a table using a regular pencil. Sometimes I even paint or use oil pastels; anything to make it realistic.

It was a teacher named Ms. Tole, who told me I could draw. She really encouraged me a lot. She was white, always wore khaki pants with Sketchers. She always smelled like coffee. She was always a nice person, especially to me.

I remember one time I drew LeBron James, it was the first realistic drawing I actually did. I was in fourth grade, and she loved it. She gave me a kiss on the cheek, gave me a good hug. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I couldn't stop smiling that day. I did a portrait of myself and it actually kind of looked like me. She saw my potential. I really had to thank her for that.

That fourth grade year's summer, heading into my fifth grade year I drew the whole summer all the time. I always kept drawing and drawing and drawing. I drew a lot of players that summer: Kyrie Irving, Lebron James, Darren Williams. I drew a whole lot of basketball players. I even drew Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant! I just kept drawing that summer; there'd always be that moments where I was like yeah, let's go ahead and draw some more.

The first day of school, I had the drawings in my hands ready to show Ms. Tole, and I was like, Where is she at? What's going on, and why is everybody so sad, and why are you pakcing up her stuff?

The janitor looked up to me, sad, and told me that she passed away over the summer from breast cancer. I was just kind of shocked.

People asked why I wear pink. It's because of that. She was always a nice person, especially to me because she really loved me. She really taught me how to draw. She even taught me how to become myself and to be more funny.

James Turner is a senior at Ponitz CTC High School. James is planning to go to Wright State University after graduation and major in Communications, Broadcasting and Television. 

Special Thanks to Ponitz Radio media arts instructors Joanne Viskup and Jeffrey Crowell. Learn more at the school's website: http://ponitzctc.org. Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.