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Transforming Today's Learners into Tomorrow's Leaders

Teacher Spotlight: Sean Butler

Upon the cornerstones of Cardinal Mooney High School rests the idea that all students have potential — that every young person who walks through our door it’s gifted with unique abilities.

This is the light of our beacon, and one of its strongest sources is our art department, because as Sean Butler believes, art is a pathway to greater understanding of humanity and all of its facets.

“Art teaches discipline, structure, and open-minded approaches to problem solving — there are many right answers in art, and with that, it is important that, contrary to popular belief, there still is a right answer, not everything a student produces is wonderful,” he said.

“It guides people to understand design, color, placement and how that fits into your life more than you know. It works to teach mindfulness in the decisions you make, develops an artistic skill set. It helps to open people’s mind to the idea of beauty. It touches on history as it relates to art, society and religion — society and how we communicate, science in chemical reactions, light and our natural world, and English as we write critiques, reports, analysis of art.”

That is the type of passion and dedication to the complete experience of Cardinal Mooney to which Butler is dedicated. It’s a journey that starts the first day one of his classes’ starts.

“Hopefully I teach or show people a few techniques and the ways a few artists have used those to create beautiful images,” he said. “Along the way, they may see the practical applications, or just the joy or appreciation of creating a work of art. Hopefully through their own experiences they have the opportunity to be inspired or motivated to take the next step or go to the next level.”

A handful of Advanced Placement courses within the department, and the fact that all of our students who have taken the test / portfolio submission have passed with a three or better, separate us from others, but Butler believes there is more this area at Cardinal Mooney.

“The interaction we have with the students is very special,” he said. “I have been fortunate to have had many of the talented, motivated students over the years that have made teaching more than I expected. Some have gone on to work as an artist’s professionally, some have become amazing architects and designers, some photographers (both as fine artists and video) and some all of the above … and some just gained a better appreciation of art. All in all, I am lucky to have so many former students that I admire and many I have the pleasure to even call friends. I think this is what makes Cardinal Mooney’s art program unique.”