Saturday, December 10, 2011

Remembering Mr. Monahan

Sad.  Simply sad

to lose my high school art and photography teacher

Mr. Tom Monahan.

I've been reading post after post on facebook

from so many of his former students.


That's what comes to mind.

Here's the legacy he left in my life . . .

When I was a senior in high school,

I signed up for the Junior Miss Pageant

because, well, it was on my "ought-to" list.

But I was SO worried and anxious the whole time
because I didn't think I had a "talent" to perform.
Whining and lamenting about this problem
{that I voluntarily signed up for}
Mr. Monahan gave me this idea.
Using black lights and neon pastel chalks,
draw and dance to music.
He gathered up the black lights and the black felt for me to paint and draw on.
Approximately 4x6 foot piece of felt/velvety material and mounted it on wood.
Then I used his airbrush to paint the picture.
I also airbrushed a t-shirt for part of my costume.
Each week I would go to practice and the other girls would practice their talent,
and I would say, "I'm working on it."
I practiced a bit at home, but really only did the real thing the night of the performance.
I won the creative and performing arts portion of the competition.
And if I remember correctly, I was a teachers aid for Mr. Monahan and Mr. LaRue that year.
I think I worked on that project when I was supposed to be helping them.

Yes, that was cool then to win an award.
But the legacy is now.
For the past 5 years, I have been teaching Bible school to middle schoolers.
Each year we have a program,
and the older kids seem to lose their enthusiasm for Bible school programs.
So we take the "fear" out of standing up in front of people
by turning out the lights and doing a skit with black lights
and use my old box of neon pastels from that high school pageant.
The kids and I love it.
I have received such notes of kindness about those skits.
And these skits that glorify God go back to my pageant project
that Mr. Monahan inspired.
I never would have thought of that on my own.

In addition, I was part of Art Club.
Mr. Monahan was an advisor and we were able to see first-hand
into what it takes to be an entrepreneur
with Tom's T's and that beginning of T&M Studios.

Because Mr. Monahan was my teacher,
I had the privilege of watching him start this business with Mr. LaRue, and see it grow.
Take something they loved and were interested in and build it.
Create a business.
Create jobs.
Do what he loved.

That was an inspiration to me.
Today, Mr. Monahan is one of many
that has inspired me to take risks
and do what I love.

A few weeks ago,
I was able to give Mr. Monahan a big hug
and proudly show him the work in art and photography
that I am doing today.
I felt like a school-kid again
showing my teacher,
"Look what I did."
I had no idea that would be the last time
I would see him.

But his legacy is carried on in my life.


I know others have their own legacy story . . .
of Mr. Monahan or of a beloved teacher.
I'd love to hear . . .


  1. When I moved back from CO I worked at a "hole-in-the-wall hair salon. My colleague, Tawny Teigen, and I decided to raise the bar in Sturgis and build a nice salon. Tom was our first landlord. He helped us make signs and gave us marketing ideas. Our business, "Mane Street Salon" operated for 14 years 1119 Main St. Tawny got married and moved to St Onge and I downsized to 940 Main. Tom converted the space to what is now the Sturgis Wine Bar, a true work of art. Tom Monahan's creativity and generosity is beyond measure. What ever he decided to do he did it with class. He was a supported of the Sturgis Center for the Arts. We have hosted many fundraisers at the SWB. He donated more to this community than most people will ever know. His inspiration will live on through the lives he has touched as an educator,artist, businessman, and family man. We love you Tom! The last time I've ever cried this much was when my own father died.

  2. Thank you for sharing. What an amazing person. I am going to miss him every day at work. Work will not be the same. Melissa


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