“I was born in Saudi Arabia, and I studied at Dhahran Academy from kindergarten until middle school. I completed my high school years in St. Lawrence Seminary in Wisconsin in the U.S.
There was no art program in my high school, which is interesting, as now I am an art teacher. However, I always kept drawing. Then, I got into college and met my art professor. But even then, it took me a long time to get where I am right now. I bounced around from a lot of majors – from marine biology and criminal science to art, finally. I graduated with my degree in Art Education in 2015.
I thought about working as a graphic designer, but I never liked how competitive the field is. I sat there, and I thought about what I love about art and realized that the two most influential people in my life were my art professor and my elementary art teacher, Mrs. Sizemore. That led me back to Dhahran Academy. I wanted to give back to my school and teach this unique group of students.
And here I am, back in Saudi Arabia after 20 years. For the longest time, I couldn’t come back to visit it. And only now, I finally understand that feeling when you realize what you had until I didn’t have it anymore. I feel incredibly fortunate to come back here and see the campus looking as I remember it seeing last time. Dhahran campus is one of the things that hasn’t changed that drastically since the last time I saw it. You may say it is forever stuck in time. When I walked into the art classroom on one of my visits before the school year began, that was the closest I felt to being back home in a very long time.
I remember doing projects here. In fact, I am doing one of the art projects that I did as a kid with my students right now. This activity is not the only thing that connects our generations. My peers back in the 90s and my students now have the same international mentality. Living and growing in KSA is a unique experience, especially when sharing it with other homelands. You are a citizen of one country, you have lived most of your life in another country, and you have friends from every other conceivable country in the world. How fortunate are you to have that experience? My students might not know it yet, but it will give them a leg up in society – to have that level of global mindedness. It will be the biggest asset for these kids in the world that is getting smaller and when we are to become more global.
Therefore, my sincere wish to the future generations of ISG students – cherish these moments! Remember the lessons learned here. Remember that feeling of international mindset and take that through your entire life, and it will be your biggest asset in terms of how you deal with people.”