Art is an essential part of human expression, and having an amazing art teacher can help students find the depths of their imaginative capabilities. This past year, EHHS was lucky enough to receive their newest fashion, digital photography, and studio art mentor. In giving students the chance to learn in a more hands-on manner, Mrs. Mindy Parisi is shaping our school for the better!
With work consuming much of a person’s life, Mrs. Parisi wanted to make sure that whatever route she chose, it was something she enjoyed doing. Growing up, she always found pleasure in attending school and working closely with kids, so teaching seemed to present the best of both worlds! While being the typical ‘classroom teacher’ didn’t spark much interest, her love for the visual arts turned her in a different direction. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Southern Connecticut State University, Mrs. Parisi eventually went on to obtain a Master’s in Educational Technology at the University of St. Joseph. Since then, she has spread her knowledge and adoration for art all around the state of Connecticut!
At the end of the 2018-19 school year, administration was presented with the challenge of filling a vacant position within the EHHS Art Department, after Ms. Tiffany Choi had resigned. Much like the standard hiring process for other jobs, candidates were prompted to fill out an application and resume for evaluation. If qualified, they were asked to return for an in-person interview, in which they would answer a series of questions regarding their experience in the field, goals, and potential ideas. Mrs. Parisi was a clear standout to the panel of faculty; her knowledge of the subject area and composure were two key determining factors for her hire. Mr. Vincent DeNuzzo, principal of EHHS, proudly mentioned, “She hit it out of the park during her interview. Her interest not just in one facet of art, but her ability to teach fashion, digital photography, and studio art showed that she was very well-rounded. That was very appealing to us.” With clear passion for her work, the school community was ready to see Mrs. Parisi take the art curriculum to the next level!
Landing the position here at EHHS means a lot more to Mrs. Parisi, seeing as she walked these same halls when she was a teen. Knowing the layout of the building and some of the staff members has helped her transition almost seamlessly. Even further, Mrs. Parisi understands the importance of giving back to her community. She stated, “I wanted to feel good about the work I was doing and I wanted to give back, especially to the town of East Haven because I grew up here. It’s nice to come home and help the kids right here become a little bit better at something that I’m passionate about.” Mrs. Parisi always has been, and always will be a part of the EHPS family. Her work and enthusiasm will have a lasting impact on future generations.
Apart from giving back in the classroom, Mrs. Parisi had the opportunity to express her pride and talents in the EHHS Alumni Art Show this past fall. The exhibit displayed the work of various East Haven graduates for over a month long period in Gallery 35. Along with multiple photographs, Mrs. Parisi showcased a beautifully detailed painting from her college years. In regard to the display, she mentioned, “It was really nice to see the product of the program here and it made me even more proud to be a part of it. It was also interesting to see how much talent came out of this town.”
The visual arts are something Mrs. Parisi is so passionate about that they have even made their way outside of the classroom. For over 11 years, she has acted as a beauty journalist, which combines her love for both fashion and photography. With this career has come many amazing opportunities, including the ability to regularly attend New York Fashion Week. Such experiences have really translated into the classroom; Mrs. Parisi is able to take much of what she has learned and seen, and pass it forward to her own students. She explained, “With the realm of social media, there is even more incentive for kids to have that intrinsic motivation to want to learn more about how to take a better picture, or understand how certain fashion brands are influencing what teenagers are wearing. It’s really cool as a teacher to see your students motivated on their own and wanting to go above and beyond to make the connections between what they are learning here and what they are doing in their free time.” In having the ability to share what she is learning in the outside world with her own students, Mrs. Parisi has truly landed her ‘dream job’.
Mrs. Parisi could not be adapting any more perfectly to EHHS. Both students and staff love the eagerness and versatility that she puts into her work. Sophomore Digital Photography student, Justin Thompson, stated, “She is a very nice and friendly teacher and is always willing to help. Having her class last semester was one of the bright parts of my day and made my day much better.” Mrs. Parisi really hopes to keep her students excited and happy about the work they are producing. She has already helped so many kids develop a greater understanding for the world of art, and we cannot wait to see what she will continue to do in the future!