Art Enrichment Classes Inspire a Career and Fulfill Dreams

Matt Takeno’s mother didn’t always know what her son was going to order when they went to the Carl’s Jr. in Woodbridge when he was a kid.

Matt Takeno Teaching Art

Matt Takeno Teaching Art

But she always knew exactly where they were going to sit.

As a student at Meadow Park Elementary School, Matt’s school artwork was chosen for display at the local Carl’s on Barranca – and he and his mother always sat at the booth directly beneath his work. Some of Matt’s fondest memories of elementary school are of the art enrichment classes taught by art specialist Ellen Small.

“I made sure to never miss her classes, and the only complaint I have is I wish there had been more of them,” Matt says. In a testament to the life-changing impacts such lessons can have on young minds, Matt today is an art teacher at Woodbridge High School.

“I love teaching. I wouldn’t do anything else,” says Matt, who joined the faculty in 2013. “Teaching art is a unique opportunity to instill passion in kids and inspire them to follow their dreams.”

The elementary school art enrichment classes served as a launching pad for both Matt’s imagination and dreams. While attending Woodbridge High, his art teacher convinced Matt he could forge a career in the arts. Following graduation in 1996, he attended Orange Coast College and then the renowned Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. After working for Rip Curl for several years, Matt went back to school to receive his teaching credential.

He believes the arts are critical to a well-rounded education. He and the rest of the arts team at Woodbridge are working to integrate art into many aspects of school, from painting backdrops for school plays to assisting students with ASB campaign posters.

“The arts contribute immensely to society, and I want our students to know that it is possible to make a fulfilling career in the arts. Like I did, I want them to follow their dreams.”

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