Fifth-grade art teacher, Woodgate Intermediate School (Waco, Texas)
Renaissance Man might be an apt description for Garrett Hines (’06). He has an interdisciplinary degree in education and history, certification to teach K-12 art, is a triathlete and a professional artist who had his first gallery opening this fall.
And the audience who benefits daily from his talents is a group of fifth-graders at Woodgate Intermediate School in Midway ISD, Waco, where he teaches the finer points of appreciating art.
“I believe when your heart burns for something, that is God telling us and guiding us toward a path he laid out for us.”
Teaching was not something Garrett Hines expected to do. He remembers his senior year of high school thinking he would never set foot in a school again. However, when he arrived at ACU, he had several opportunities to connect with youth through camps, tutoring and church. These experiences began to change his mind.
The more time he spent with children, the more he enjoyed working with them. “There were a lot of jobs I was good at like sales and marketing,” says Hines. “But teaching became something my heart was deeply passionate about.”
During his college years not only did Hines discover his love for children, but he also came to realize that he wanted art to be part of his career. After earning his bachelor’s degree from ACU in 2006, he came back in the summer of 2007 to complete his teaching certificate in K-12 Art Education.
Now an art teacher at Woodridge Intermediate, he has been able to fuse his passions.
“Art is not just about pencils and paint, but it’s about learning how to be observant people and appreciative of the beauty that surrounds us,” Hines says. “I try to teach my kids more than just how to draw; I try to teach kids how to appreciate the wonders and majesty existing just outside the window.”
Hines is also working with his principal to create the first-ever Woodridge Intermediate Running Club for fifth- and sixth-graders, adding another of his interests to the mix. He has competed in five triathlons (four sprints and one Olympic distance) and hopes to pass on what he has learned about exercise and nutrition to these students.
Hines found at ACU a place where he was comfortable discovering his path. “It took a while, but I finally realized that I am a unique creation woven together by God,” Hines says. “I wasted so much of my life trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be, I finally realized that I am God’s creation and I need to be me. ACU was a place where I felt confident in being myself.”
He still maintains a relationship with several of his professors and enjoys talking with them when he has questions or just to share about life and teaching. “What still amazes me today is the fact that I can sit down right now and email (assistant professor of art) Dan McGregor and ask him about mediums and how to teach them to kids, and he will email me back,” Hines says.
“I heard a quote once that says, ‘The goal of education should be to teach us HOW to think, not WHAT to think.’ And I believe that ACU’s Education Department did exactly that,” says Hines. “The classes I took in the Education Department didn’t just give me knowledge; they gave me important skills like how to find the answers you don’t know, how to seek wise council, and most importantly, what it means to love the kids you teach.”
“Not every student will grow up to love art, but my hope is that when they leave my class at the end of the year, they will at least have an appreciation for it, and most importantly they will have had a lasting experience in my classroom.”