Watching her students succeed with their paintbrush and canvases, Oneida Trevino strives to educate students about art and life in her classroom.
Trevino, an art teacher at KEYS Academy, believes that art is a way to teach her students about developing themselves as not only students but as adults. It’s a teaching philosophy that she first observed as an art student at Harlingen High School, and it was that along with additional teachers that geared her on the path toward education.
“We believe in teaching life lessons through art,” said Trevino. “With our school being so small, we really get to know our students. We know them and they know us. Once they are comfortable and know your expectations they produce amazing work.”
With students focused on brushstrokes and color combinations, their artwork has gone on to be admired outsider of their campus during their participation in multiple city and region competitions. Trevino’s class has even gone on to develop a reputation for continually winning art contests with students frequently taking the top prizes against students across the Rio Grande Valley, she said.
For Trevino, the competitions represent more than awards but feed back into the mentality that art can benefit students’ development.
“For a lot of students they’ve never had the chance to compete,” said Trevino. “Once they do, they love it. It shows them they can challenge and surprise themselves.”
Getting students to challenge themselves through competition is something that Trevino hopes to share with all of her students as it reflects the world they will enter once they graduate, she said. If it’s the one thing they leave her class with, she hopes it’s a sense of accomplishment and the drive to succeed in life.
Extending their studies beyond the arts, Trevino also tries to connect their lessons to math and history. By connecting the lessons it’s her goal to increase students’ overall success by helping them have a better chance at understanding the material in their other classes.
When not in her classroom, you can find her helping the campus coordinate their latest and greatest event to benefit the campus. Currently, she is working with fellow teachers to coordinate the school’s annual fashion show, which allows students to showcase their creativity by creating outfits to reflect the year’s theme and an event to raise awareness about child abuse.