John Hicks, visual arts instructor at De La Salle Collegiate High School, will be spending the 2021-2022 school year in a new position: Full-Time Dad.
Hicks taught virtually through the spring of 2020, while all schools went to remote learning. He was the stay-at-home dad, juggling lessons and laundry, homework and housework. His wife Jessy, whose family owns Miller’s Orchards in Sterling Heights, continued to work at the family business, providing a real service to the community with fresh produce and onsite produced baked goods. Pre-pandemic, the Hicks children - Lyanna, 5, and Braylon, 3 ½, stayed with their grandparents.
But now that Lyanna is starting kindergarten in September 2021, Hicks and his wife decided that the logistics of sitters, latchkey, and commutes would become more than they wanted to handle.
A graduate of the Center for Creative Studies (CCS), Hicks began teaching at De La Salle in 2015, and has expanded the Art offerings during his tenure. In addition to expanding the curriculum in the three studio art classes, Hicks also designed the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Hicks, who had training in the IB approach, emphasized a focus on concept, in addition to technique.
He initiated the Media Production Class, which produced the weekly FCN - First Class News. One of his initial students, Troy Belko ‘18, is studying animation at the Columbus College of Art and Design. Former news anchor Christian Dean, ‘19, is in the Penny Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan
While he has enjoyed teaching, Hicks will use the “additional” time to work on his own art pieces. He has had showings at several Metro area galleries, including Detroit Artists Market, Liberty Street in Plymouth, and Gravity Art and Skateboarding Festival (Ferndale).
Brother Ken Kalinowski praises Hicks. “I know that it sounds selfish when you say that we would love for him to stay, but I do understand that his family needs him right now,” Brother Ken said.
Brother Ken noted Hick’s work in the Bill Fox Gymnasium, and his creativity in working with students to create two murals in the school hallways this year.
“John has been a blessing to De La Salle, putting the Pilot back on the walls and our Lasallian seal,” Brother Ken said. “He is truly a genuine man of service.”
The two murals - the De La Salle Pilot and downtown Detroit - by the Art Room, and the mural of the Lasallian Core Principles by the Advancement office, visible from the Commons.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and blessing to minister with him at De La Salle," Brother Ken said. "Truly his passion was to build boys and to make men!”