Career & Technical Education and Michael Berry Career Center

Congratulations Angelo Aquino – Teacher of the Year

At a recognition ceremony on April 18th, 2024, hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, Michael Berry Career Center Digital/Multimedia teacher Angelo Aquino was named the recipient of the 2024 Alberta Muirhead High School Teacher of the Year Student’s Choice Award. Mr. Aquino was nominated by his student Lauren Boyce who wrote:

My teacher likes to see his students “crash and burn.” That’s because “when they get back up, they can reassess and become better–they’ll learn.” In his classroom, students are expected to take initiative and turn to the teacher for opinions and assistance. This has developed my intrinsic motivation, a widely applicable and essential skill.

His constructive criticism is always of value. Once, I showed him one of my digital paintings; he suggested I lighten the line art because “it looked like a coloring book,” and to change the orientation. He was correct, and my consecutive edits made that piece stronger. I have expanded and improved my portfolio from his critiques. He constantly encourages students to learn new skills, which drove me to create process work–value studies and color studies–for a painting and try learning Blender, a 3D modeling program.

I have many opportunities–which my teacher promotes for all students to take advantage of–to earn professional certifications: I now have Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop certifications, and I am working on one for Microsoft Word and Adobe Premiere.

With the design skills I learned in his class, I could confidently take an art commission for a client. He assisted me in selecting my best work for college applications; my goal is a BFA in the arts. I am ready for college, partly because art is my favorite thing in the world, but mostly because my teacher has encouraged me to explore new mediums, skills, and processes. 

About the Award: The Teacher of the Year Award began in 1997, under the leadership of one of our chamber members, Alberta Muirhead. Discussion surrounded how essential it was to attract, retain and encourage excellent teachers and Ms. Muirhead suggested that the chamber recognize outstanding teachers in our community. Ms. Muirhead’s vision and support, as well as the strong positive response from the education committee and the board of directors, led to the establishment of the Teacher of the Year Award. Nomination forms are available each March and the award ceremony is held each May.