Skip to main content

Sugar House Journal

Highland Dedicates Art Gallery to Late Art Teacher

Oct 06, 2016 15h34 ● By Natalie Mollinet

A short remembrance of Pat Eddington written by principal Jenson as people entered the gallery. (Natalie Mollinet/City Journals)

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

Every student has that teacher who served as an inspiration to them, or who supported them through the tough times. For students who attended Highland High School, that teacher was Pat Eddington. Eddington taught commercial art and AP studio art at Highland High from 1988 to 2014, and through those years helped students with not only their art skills, but helped students get through the tough times in high school. 

“If you knew Pat for any length of time, whether as a student, a colleague, a family, or friend, the experience of knowing him challenged you to think, to grow and to better yourself,” Chris Jenson, Highland’s principal wrote. “Pat would often ‘bait’ a conversation with a questions like: ‘if you could sit down and have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?’ The resulting dialogue would inevitably evolve into some philosophical introspection that would linger in your psyche.” 

The Art Gallery dedication was held Sept. 14 at Highland High, and students from as far back as 1993 came to honor him. Past students of Eddington were asked to send in art that they had done in his class and share it in the gallery. The result was painted and sketched drawings through the years, and students reminiscing about Eddington and his antics. 

“A memory of Pat that a lot of people will know is that he loved tricking you into saying the word ‘what’ so that he could immediately say ‘Belto,’” Josh Christensen Highland graduate of 2006, and student of Pat said, “which won’t make sense to any of the readers but anyone who knew Pat would say, ‘oh yeah that stupid joke.’” 

Belto, to the readers, is a type of hearing aid, so when someone said “what,” he would reply with Belto. 

The night was filled with memories of Eddington, as well as a short speech from Chris Jenson, followed by a tour of the art wing where Eddington asked his passing AP students to draw something on the bricks. Alumni students also got to see their old art room and reminisce with each other about memories of Eddington sitting at their old desks. Past students commented on how many of his things were still there including animal skulls, different pieces of art and different sculptures. 

“He actually entered one of my pieces and I didn’t know,” Catie Blaine another Highland graduate of 2008 said. “And my sister is an art director, and she texted me and asked me ‘where are you? Your piece won!’ and I had no idea what she was talking about. That’s who Pat was, he wanted you to be the best person you could be.” 

Eddington had actually entered Blaine’s picture into a contest and won, because he believed that she was a great artist. She also added that when she started art at Highland she felt very inadequate to take the class because her sisters were so talented when it came to art. But, because of Eddington, she said  her confidence grew and she became confident in both art and in herself.  

Eddington never had a formal funeral after his passing, so for many, this was a way to honor him. 

“You know it’s actually something you don’t see happen too often to teachers, that they’re willing to go create an event surrounding somebody,” Christensen said. “It’s amazing to see the number of people that are here and I think that the way they’re honoring him is excellent.” 

Many of the alumni did regret not coming back to see him before his death, not only was he a teacher to so many, but he was a confidant. Alumni commented on how Eddington would notice something going on and ask if everything was okay, and after the student would tell him what was going on, he would tell them that he would pray for them. 

“He wrote me a card at the end of my first year in high school that was really sweet, that I still have,” Highland alumni Katrina Watts said. “He was such a great teacher. He totally lifted me up and there were things he has told me that I will never forget that gave me so much confidence.” 

Blaine hopes that Eddington somehow knows about the dedication. 

“High school was really hard for me...and I just always felt accepted by Pat...,” she said. “I would drive my car to school and sleep in the back of my car and not come to class, and Pat worked with me through that and was understanding of it. He was just an incredible person, he absolutely deserves this. I hope wherever he is, he’s watching this.”