ESCONDIDO — When it comes to leaving a lasting impression, either in print or in person, Orange Glen High School teacher Aled Anaya knows exactly what to do.
Anaya discovered his interest in print and design while taking a printing class as a student at Escondido High School. At the time, Anaya said he wasn’t very motivated to do well in school and only signed up for the class to make up for lost credits.
But he quickly realized his love for the art.
“As soon as I walked in and saw what people were doing, I really loved the creative aspect,” Anaya said.
The printing class eventually led Anaya to take on an instructional assistant role in Orange Glen’s printing, graphics and design program almost right after he graduated high school in 2010. A few years later, he began teaching the program and has been there since.
Besides his love for print and design work, Anaya was also inspired to become a teacher by members of his family who worked as educators in Mexico but couldn’t continue to do so once they immigrated to the United States.
Since the school’s print, graphics and design program is a Career and Technical Education pathway, Anaya had to work at least 3,000 hours of professional experience and must continue to develop professionally in the printing and graphics industry to become a teacher in the program.
Anaya continued to gain experience outside of his work with the school district and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in digital media and design from California State University San Marcos while teaching.
Anaya introduces his students to various printing methods and equipment available in the industry. He also teaches students how to create print artwork like heat pressing stickers and t-shirts, laser engraving keychains, or designing and binding books.
Students in the printing, graphics and design pathway help oversee print needs for the entire school district. They also work with school and community leaders by creating murals on campus and projects around the city.
Recently the pathway’s students have been working to help the Orange Glen Skate Club by researching how to make skateboard skins.
Last fall, Anaya worked with the city to get his students’ murals in Washington Park. Because of his students’ interest in using spray paint, Anaya has been working on his skills and has since worked on several murals around San Diego County, including one in Chicano Park on the back wall of the handball courts.
Not only are students learning how to print their art, but they’re also learning entrepreneurial skills they could use in a professional format.
“A lot of students can learn these useful skills here and then apply them by starting their own business or helping an existing family business,” Anaya said.
Anaya works with a lot of students who often lack motivation to perform well in school just as he did, which is why he directs his focus on supporting his students by providing them a creative outlet and building their confidence through the skills they learn.
“A lot of students out there need the creative space and autonomy to walk in and be supported by their teachers,” he said. “I want them to be more confident individuals.”
Mia Funk, director of College and Career Readiness in the district, said Anaya is “his most authentic self with students,” which helps him to build better connections with them. He was recently spotlighted by the district in its monthly newsletter to demonstrate his impactful work with students.
“Aled leads through relationships,” Funk said. “He honors students’ cultural heritage and legacy, he fosters an environment in the classroom where students feel welcome and part of a community.”
Community members can have a chance to see the work Anaya’s students are doing in the first-ever OGHS Art and Design Showcase on April 21 at the campus’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Plaza, 2200 Glenridge Road.