Former student is now a staff member

Miguel Zamarripa


The Magnet Tribune: Miguel Zamarripa

New school secretary Vanessa Castillo is a former VMT art student.

Miguel Zamarripa, Staff Writer

Former art student Vanessa Castillo is back as VMT’s secretary. Castillo transferred to VMT in early April.

Before being transferred to VMT, Castillo worked at Ryan Elementary School for six years.

At her former school, Castillo did many different things. She moved to different positions within those six years she worked there.

It’s a little crazy. You don’t expect to see them as a co-worker versus you being a student (and) them being a teacher. It’s weird but it’s interesting.”

— Vanessa Castillo

“At Ryan, I started off as a tutor with the special education department. I moved on to a teacher aide for pre-K through fourth, and then I was promoted to reading interventionist and eventually I was moved into the classroom as a first-grade teacher,” Castillo said.

As were some of VMT teachers and staff, Castillo was a former student at VMT. Castillo was at VMT from 1996 to 2000, taking art as her fine art

“I did painting and drawing. I took graphics as well. The only art I didn’t take was metal arts,” she said.

She explained how she felt working with teachers and former students who are now teaching here.

“It’s a little crazy. You don’t expect to see them as a co-worker versus you being a student (and) them being a teacher. It’s weird but it’s interesting,” Castillo said.

As a former student Castillo compared VMT now with the past, as she has seen both VMTs and the growth of the fine arts.

“It’s changed drastically over the years. The fine arts and the programs have grown tremendously. And of course, the (new) building. That’s the biggest change,” Castillo said.

Castillo contrasted VMT as a student and as a staff member.

“As a student, you go about your day not really knowing what else is going on, and as a staff member you’re on the inside and you see all the little things that involve everything else,” she said.

Castillo found she liked art in middle school. When she attended VMT she was allowed to pursue her art in a more comprehensive way.

“I grew a passion for my art in middle school. As you well know, you begin to find your passion for your elective and what you’re interested in. Then at VMT you’re allowed to pursue it to a more professional level,” she said.

As a result of her passion for art, Castillo achieved a degree in fine arts, and she said she is certified to teach from elementary to high school. She has a long term goal which is something involving art.

“In five years I hope to eventually become an art teacher. I have a degree in fine arts and I’m certified to teach art at all levels so if not in this city maybe in another city. That’s my long-term goal,” she said.

Ultimately, Castillo’s stress at VMT has minimized from her elementary days. She likes VMT’s atmosphere better than other schools, and doesn’t feel as much tension.

“Everybody wants to work at VMT because it’s a different atmosphere from all the other schools,” Castillo said. “As an employee working in an elementary school, there’s a lot of pressure on teachers performing well as far as state exams, and in the lower grades on the reading scores. I don’t feel that stress here. There’s not that tension here.”