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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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Flashback Friday: Art teacher Katy Mangrich

Art teacher Katy Mangrich sits in her classroom, smiling for a picture. During her time in high school, Mangrich learned several lessons that she now passes on to her son. “The biggest life lesson that I learned is honesty. I wouldnt say I was the best teenager, but I learned very quickly in high school to always be forthcoming and honest with my parents because it always ended up serving me better in the long run. [My parents] might have been upset with me [and the mistake I made], but I wasnt going down the rabbit hole of a lie because that was just going to get me into more trouble,” Mangrich said. “I passed [that lesson] along to my nephew. Honesty is always your best approach; just don’t lie. I say that to my son all the time. Theres no advantage to lying, [and] thats a huge takeaway [from] how my parents raised me.”
Sakenah Lajkem
Art teacher Katy Mangrich sits in her classroom, smiling for a picture. During her time in high school, Mangrich learned several lessons that she now passes on to her son. “The biggest life lesson that I learned is honesty. I wouldn’t say I was the best teenager, but I learned very quickly in high school to always be forthcoming and honest with my parents because it always ended up serving me better in the long run. [My parents] might have been upset with me [and the mistake I made], but I wasn’t going down the rabbit hole of a lie because that was just going to get me into more trouble,” Mangrich said. “I passed [that lesson] along to my nephew. Honesty is always your best approach; just don’t lie. I say that to my son all the time. There’s no advantage to lying, [and] that’s a huge takeaway [from] how my parents raised me.”

Art teacher Katy Mangrich sits in her classroom, smiling for a picture. During her time in high school, Mangrich learned several lessons that she now passes on to her son. “The biggest life lesson that I learned is honesty. I wouldn’t say I was the best teenager, but I learned very quickly in high school to always be forthcoming and honest with my parents because it always ended up serving me better in the long run. [My parents] might have been upset with me [and the mistake I made], but I wasn’t going down the rabbit hole of a lie because that was just going to get me into more trouble,” Mangrich said. “I passed [that lesson] along to my nephew. Honesty is always your best approach; just don’t lie. I say that to my son all the time. There’s no advantage to lying, [and] that’s a huge takeaway [from] how my parents raised me.” 

What school did you go to?

For elementary school, I went to Christ Prince of Peace. For high school, I went to a Nerinx Hall in Webster Groves, Mo. Both [were] Catholic private schools. 

How was your childhood homelife?

It was typical. I had both my mom and dad in the home, so we lived a very traditional life. I have an older sister and a younger brother, and we are all about two years apart. [There was] lots of arguing and fighting, like you would normally do with your siblings. My younger brother is like a comedian, so there was always lots of laughter from his little quirky things that he would do that we would always get a kick out of.

 

What has changed, what hasn’t?

The introduction of cell phones is the biggest thing with regard to how things have changed. [Before], there wasn’t a way to track your kids. In that sense, we were more independent. If we went out playing, we had to be home by the time the street lights went on. We would beg for dinner as early as we could so we could get back outside and play [longer]. And [we had] lots of interaction with the neighborhood kids. We had a couple of

Art teacher Katy Mangrich smiles for a photo between her older sister and younger brother. While Mangrich admired her sister during her younger years, her relationship with her brother was more competition-driven. “My brother and I were physical with each other. He was a wrestler, and I was always tomboy-ish, in the sense that I would participate in ‘boy’ things. I wasn’t just [into] dolls; I would also play sports with him. Growing up, we would fight [and] wrestle with each other. [For him], it was like having a brother. We were still wrestling with each other in high school to the point where my dad would have to intervene,” Mangrich said. (Photo courtesy of Katy Mangrich)
different families on our street, and we’d play all different kinds of yard games and outdoor games: Capture the Flag, Ghosts in the Graveyard, [games] that you don’t see at all [anymore]. We were always outside with no shoes on [and] no coat on [too]. Now, the helicopter parent has been introduced, and cell phones have contributed to that because you can watch where your kid is all the time. You can see what your kid is doing all the time.

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher and teach this subject? 

Growing up, [my] mom was a teacher, so she always had textbooks and different materials that they didn’t use at school anymore [that] she would bring home. I had a full classroom set up in our basement. When [my sister and I] would play with dolls, for instance, it would be in an education setting. I would be teaching on the board using chalk, and I’d have textbooks; it was almost inherent in the sense that my mom had the materials for us. So, I would say that started fairly early, but I didn’t want to go into teaching when I graduated high school. I was in all art classes my junior and senior year in high school, specifically my senior year. I might have had one class sprinkled in there in general [education]. Other than that, it was all art classes. I knew I wanted to do something with art. My art teacher told me if I want to make a career out of art, I should go into graphic design —this was the beginning of when graphic design was coming up as an actual career — and that’s the route I took. I was a graphic designer for about eight or nine years in Denver, Colo., and when I got pregnant and I had my son, I wanted to move back to St. Louis to be around my family. That’s when I succumbed to the fact that my destiny was always to teach. It combined with what I always knew I loved the most, which is art.

Art teacher Katy Mangrich (left) poses with her older sister and younger brother for a photo. Mangrich was very close with her brother growing up, and after having her son, saw a lot of her similar traits between them. “My son is, personality-wise, 100% my brother. He’s cut off the exact same block; it’s insane. My brother’s name is Brett, [and] my family and I call [my son] Brett all the time, accidentally. It’s really strange because they don’t live together, yet the mannerisms are the same. Even now that [my son] is in high school, I feel like I’m reliving that year of my life when I was living with my brother sometimes,” Mangrich said. (Photo courtesy of Katy Mangrich)

Tell me a childhood story that always makes you smile.

My dad is super quirky [and] always has been. He lost his filter at a young age, so he would do things all the time that would be embarrassing to my siblings; for some reason, I always found humor in it. For instance, we were driving down the highway one day, and there was this really small car that had this gigantic canoe strapped on top of it. [My dad] pulled up in our minivan, right next to the car and then started paddling, like he was in the canoe. Everybody in the car was just so embarrassed, but I was dying laughing. I thought it was hilarious. Another time, we were in Florida, and we were going over to my uncle’s house. There was a little girl riding her bike in the street, and my dad slowed down right next to her and whispered, ‘That’s the way to make an angel, sweetie.’ We were all like, ‘Oh my gosh, you can’t say that to a little girl.’ It was just his quirky way of life. I felt like I could connect with him all the time because I could laugh about it, whereas my siblings, still to this day, get embarrassed by it.

Art teacher Katy Mangrich (right) sits beside her older sister in front of their fireplace. The fireplace was an essential part of Mangrich’s early years with her family in their first house. “We used to make [a] fire in the fireplace all the time. One of the only memories I remember from this house is that one day, this huge chunk of wood popped out of the fireplace and landed on the carpet and burned a hole in the carpet. It was very scary for a little kid,” Mangrich said. (Photo courtesy of Katy Mangrich)

What things make you nostalgic when you see/hear/smell/ feel them?

My dad was from Puerto Rico. He lived in Puerto Rico for the first eight or nine years of his life, and then his parents moved to Florida. We visited Florida all the time. We never flew, only drove [Because of that], I would say the smell of orange trees. When you cross into Florida, it was that smell; still, to this day, as soon as I smell it, I know what that smell is and it automatically brings me right back to childhood and visiting my grandparents. The rides at Disney are also very nostalgic for me. “‘It’s a Small World’ was always my favorite ride, and I would always beg to go on it, and nobody else in my family ever wanted to go on. So I would say Disney would be another nostalgic experience.

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About the Contributor
Sakenah Lajkem, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz. Who is your hero? Jesus Christ. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? My mom's mashed potatoes.
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