Teacher Spotlight: A Man of Many Experiences

Fine Arts teacher, Mr. Terembes, hopes to inspire change and creativity in students in a constantly changing world.

Mishka Brice, Editor-in-Chief

Many know Mr. Terembes as just the draw and paint teacher, the first person students see when walking into the 4000 building telling them to take their headphones out of their ears or giving them what seems like a menacing glare. But there’s more to Mr. Terembes than meets the eye. From protesting the war in Vietnam to fighting for Civil Rights or finding the beauty in a changing world, he has seen it and lived it all.

Before Mr. Terembes ever became a fine arts teacher at Santaluces, his first passion was in the advertising field. After graduating from high school he attended the State University of New York at Farmingdale in Long Island, NY where he received his associates in advertising art and design while also participating in another passion of his, wrestling.

With this degree he went into the busiest city of New York, Manhattan, where he would successfully take on a number of jobs including becoming an illustrator, art director, and even a creative director. At one point, he became the assistant bullpen manager for the third largest advertising company in the world, Gray. Here he was asked to be a guest speaker at a vocational school of 100 prospective advertising students.

“Kids were talking, asking me questions,” said Terembes. “They got so motivated by my portfolio. Somebody asked me if I wanted a job teaching there, and I dearly didn’t want to. But the kids got me involved, so I said I would just do it towards the end of the semester.”

Mr. Terembes ended up staying there for 15 years, but that wasn’t the official end to his advertising career. He decided to move down to Florida to start up his own advertising business. Not too long after that did Mr. Terembes find himself back in an institution of learning.

“Palm Beach County schools, through somebody I knew, asked me if I was interested in teaching computer graphics,” said Terembes. “Again, I thought I was going to do it for a short period of time- it’s been 26 years.”

Terembes originally taught TV production, computer graphics, and commercial arts- something many students wouldn’t expect from a now, fine arts teacher. One of these students, senior Bjork Clarke, had him for all four years of her high school career.

“He tries to mold you into the best artist that you can possibly be,” said Clarke. “He gives you so much information that you can just come back to and reference from. He’s caring and loving as much as he may not come off that way, but he really does care and is sweet and cares for us as artists and as people.”

Though many may know him only for his artistic abilities, many may not know that he was a child of the 60s.

“There’s no such thing to me as an ex-hippie,” said Terembes. “Once a hippie, always a hippie. Got off the bus in 1968 and forgot to get back on.”

Terembes was involved in the very well known protest of the Vietnam War, Woodstock. According to him, he knew that there was always “two sides to every coin,” meaning that he understood what the war was about and why it had to happen, as well as why many didn’t like it and protested against it.

There’s no such thing to me as an ex-hippie. Once a hippie, always a hippie. Got off the bus in 1968 and forgot to get back on.

— Mr. Terembes

“ROTC at that time stood for ‘Run Over To Canada’ to avoid the draft,” said Terembes. “Myself and my two brothers came up with high numbers for the lottery [of the draft]. But very good friends were drafted. My senior year of high school I went to seven funerals. The most horrifying part was to see the ones come back wounded and shot up. Seeing them in wheelchairs and walkers. Kids that you played football and wrestled with. Strong athletes totally crippled and handicapped. That, was horrifying.”

Terembes was also involved in the Civil Rights movement.

“I went to protest for civil rights after watching Governor Wallace stand in front of the doors of Alabama University and saying, ‘No black people will ever walk through these doors,'” said Terembes. “I thought, how horrifying, how primitive and barbaric. I protested with my roommate in college who was African-American. We wrestled together. It was scary. People didn’t like those kinds of things.”

Terembes has seen it all. He’s lived through it all. He tries to instill in his students the importance of making a statement, whether it be through their art or through the way they choose to live their lives. He also stresses the importance of appreciating life itself, taking in the beauty of it, and making it a “better place than what they came into.”

“I see the beauty in everything,” said Terembes. “In the design of a chair, a lamp, not just a painting. It’s all around us. Everything is art. I hope that I can show people how beautiful life is, cause it’s everywhere and constantly changing. The world is constantly changing- and I just want to be a part of it.”