Marcel Navarro named Teacher of the Year at Monsignor Pace

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 0 Comments

Marcel Navarro named Teacher of the Year at Monsignor Pace
After an all school mass prior to Thanksgiving at Monsignor Edward Pace High School (PACE) students, faculty and staff cheered enthusiastically as principal Garcia announced that “Teacher of the Year” had been awarded to long time fine arts teacher, Marcel Navarro. For Navarro, who has been a member of PACE’S faculty since 1999, art has always been a part of who he is and he attributes this to several individuals throughout his life.
His initial introduction to art was by his mother, who he can recall spent much of his childhood making creative birthday piñatas and Halloween costumes for the entire family. He remembers sitting at the dining room table to draw with his brothers as his mother always encouraged his love of art while he discovered his own unique talents.
Another person who had a significant influence on his future ambitions was Osvaldo Gutierrez, a self-taught artist and friend of Navarro’s parents from their native Cuba. Navarro recalls being a young boy living on S.W. 8 street and occasionally visiting Gutierrez with his family. “He would always give my brothers and I paint brushes and paper. It was awesome!”
Two of Gutierrez’s original pen works hung in his family’s home for years. Navarro stated “those images still appear in my mind, and have influenced many of the works I have created throughout the years.”
Navarro gives much credit to his drawing teacher and Cuban artist, Ana Guerra. She taught him how to look at things differently and in a way that sparked his creativity. Her approach to seeing and interpreting art has greatly inspired Navarro not only as an artist, but as an educator. “I always push my students to look at things from a new angle, and with art, the possibilities are endless.”
Navarro attended Southwest Senior High School and received the first and only Presidential Scholarship award by Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts. During that time he took a wide range of classes including printmaking, etching and photography. However, his longtime preference of medium has always been graphite and color pencils. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Drawing and Mixed Media.
After graduation Navarro returned to South Florida, where he obtained his Florida Teacher Certification in art and began his career as a substitute teacher at Glades Junior High School. In 1999, he met PACE’S current principal Ana Garcia, who at the time was assistant principal of curriculum and instruction. Understanding his vast gift and the value it would bring to the students at PACE, Garcia encouraged him to apply for an available teaching position for the following school year. He followed through and was hired.
As an artist, Navarro has been involved with multiple exhibitions throughout South Florida such as the Teacher’s Choice Exhibition and the Miami International University of Art & Design. At PACE he has also offered his talents in numerous ways. Navarro is responsible for the design of a sponsor tree sculpture in the chapel and also designed the school’s 50th Anniversary cross.
After nearly two decades teaching Spartans, Navarro, feels at home at Pace and confesses that he could not see himself anywhere else. “I enjoy connecting with my students through a medium that we mutually enjoy, yet we all perceive in a very unique and personal way.”
Navarro says that the greatest part of having a long history at Pace, is when his former students who have decided to pursue careers in art, contact him for advice. He is humbled knowing that similar to his own mentors and teachers, he has also influenced their view of art and has inspired them beyond the classroom. Navarro admits, “As an educator, that’s the best compliment I could ever ask for.”

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