From corporate America to the classroom: Rochester teacher ditches office for art class

Golden Apple

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Sometimes we have to do something we don’t like before realizing our true calling. That was the case for a local art teacher. Ismael Sanchez says he got tired of the daily grind and decided to switch careers. Now he’s being honored with a Golden Apple.

Playing music and students creating their latest masterpiece: This is what Leadership Academy art teacher Ismael Sanchez looks forward to every day but it wasn’t always this way for Mr. Sanchez. He spent many years in corporate America and explains, “I was in a cubicle. I was answering the phone. I was looking at a computer for 8 hours. I became unhappy. I went to my old high school art teacher and he inspired me and he made me do the switch. H said hey you majored in art and you can do this. You do a lot of projects. The kids would really love you.” 

His art teacher was correct. Students rave about Mr. Sanchez, saying: “He’s fun with us. We did pinatas. We bust them open with candy. He plays with us sometimes. He plays the music that we like,” says Isaha Mitchell, a 7th grader at Leadership Academy. His classmate, Shahrod Holt adds, “It’s just amazing how he creates stuff and we create it, and we do it perfectly!”

Art class wasn’t always this popular. Doctor Paul Lampe says Mr. Sanchez made all the difference, “I know with testing the last few years we haven’t focused a lot on music and the arts and it’s so exciting to see the boys having fun and wanting to come to class.”
We surprised Mr. Sanchez while he was teaching an art class. 
Lia Lando: “We’re from channel 8 and you won a Golden Apple Award! Doctor Lampe nominated you! Congratulations!!”
Ismael Sanchez: “Thank you!”

Mr. Sanchez encourages his students to “think outside of the box” and says “the sky is the limit.” As for his choice 6 years ago, to switch careers, he says, “It’s a wonderful thing! I wake up every day and I’m happy.”

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