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Lenoir County Public Schools: Schools High Schools Teacher who taught teacher visits to teach his students

Teacher who taught teacher visits to teach his students

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Near the end of Bob Rankin's guest appearance as a lecturer at North Lenoir High School on Tuesday, a student asked the obvious best question: How did you get interested in becoming an artist? Rankin's answer -- that several public school teachers had encouraged his talent -- may have sounded like it echoed in Paul Rigsby's class.

Rigsby was a student of Rankin's at Garner High School in 1984 and today is a teacher largely because of him. He is the current North Lenoir Teacher of the Year.

"He's absolutely one of the reasons I went into teaching," Rigsby said as Rankin wrapped up his demonstration for advanced students in classes taught by Rigsby and North Lenoir colleague Steve Loftin. "He loves kids and he loved to teach. You see his passion for art, for painting."rankin4web

That passion kept Rankin in the classrooms of Wake County high schools for 30 years and, since his retirement in 2001, has secured his position as one of North Carolina's most well-regarded professional artists.

During the mid-day break he took from teaching on Tuesday, Rankin judged the "Locals Only" art show going up at the Community Council for the Arts in Kinston. His work hangs in galleries and private collections worldwide, as well as his own gallery in Raleigh. He's won numerous awards and honors, including the NCAEA Secondary Art Educator of the Year award and the Alumni of the Year award from East Carolina University, where he graduated in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in art education. He continues teaching through videos featured on You Tube and commercial sites and at international workshops.

Some of those techniques he passed on to North Lenoir students -- acrylics vs. oils, use of a palette knife, complementary colors, blending colors in an abstract piece he painted in class -- but his primary theme was perspective. And the broader the better.

"It was about getting them excited about stepping out of La Grange, just to show them there's a much larger world. I would say that about Raleigh as well," Rankin said as the classroom emptied. "It's just so important to broaden your knowledge base, whether it's through formal education, through the military, through travel, whatever, but let's see what some of the rest of the world is about. It becomes a more interesting place to live. And you achieve such a different perspective on what you have to offer."

Rankin peppered his instruction with stories about the interesting places art has taken him -- China, Fiji, New Zealand, Morocco, Australia, Europe nearly more times than he can count -- as well as stories about the success his former student have achieved in art and design. And teaching.

"Follow your dreams, folks," he told the students. "You need to go into something you love. When I was in the classroom, I was never bored for a second of the day."

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