Karen Cooper, teacher of 3D art, 2D art, and Photography, is new to Solomon and she’s got something to say and a goal to reach.
“I grew up in an artistic family,” stated Cooper. “Any night of the week we would be drawing, listening to music, reading books, along with watching TV. We would be drawing at the table and listening to music.”
She went on to mention a few aspects that really made her want to do art.
“My dad was a scientist and a musician, and my mother was a performer and an artist and a master gardener along with their regular lives,” she said. “It’s just integrated into my life and it’s natural. I’ve raised my family the same way.”
Cooper grew up in Atwood, Kansas, which is about the size of Solomon. She went to Fort Hays State University and she said that she was drawn to Solomon because, “The pace was much better. I have a heart for really small towns and really small schools because of where I grew up.”
“I’ve taught in Abilene in the high school and grade schools,” Cooper explained further. “I came home to take care of my family and I was offered this job and was attracted to it because of the fact I would be able to teach high school and middle school.”
When she was asked her reasoning for being a teacher, she was glad to mention someone dear to her in her schooling years.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was little,” she says eagerly.
“I didn’t know I wanted to be an art teacher until my senior year of high school, but it was because of my high school art teacher that I wanted to be an art teacher.”
Cooper really wants to see her students grow into their potential, to be confident, and to believe in themselves.
“I love watching my students blossom in my classroom from being afraid to even start to not being afraid to make mistakes. I think that’s important. That's an important life lesson.”
She also wants to get closer to her students so that she can really have them feel comfortable and see their personalities shine through.
“She cares and caters to the class’ needs to be taught,” said Jerah Hewitt, a student in Cooper’s 3D art class.
Cooper also wants her students to be successful.
“When I have good relationships with my students and they feel confident enough to be themselves and express themselves in my classroom,” is when Cooper knows she has been successful. Not only does Cooper want her students to achieve success, but she has achieved it herself.
“She gives us a safe space,” 3D art student Kami Kugler commented.
Cooper has competed in a lot of art competitions and explained that she did win some, but she is humble about her abilities.
Cooper’s humble disposition goes hand in hand with her ability to teach and to develop relationships with her students and colleagues.
“I truly love working here and I’m enjoying the relationships with students and staff that are developing,” Cooper added as a nice and genuine remark.
Photography by Luka Hayes
Editing by Taytum Anderson and Nicole Price