The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

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Good Talk: Mr. Clemmer

Meet the NASH art teacher who may or may not have had a mohawk when he was in high school!
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photo by D. Crickets

How long have you been at NASH?

Since 6:45 this morning. Lol. For the past 24 years, I have tried to get here before the traffic gets too heavy and the lot is crowded. No teacher wants to park in “ghetto” or get a tardy slip from Mrs. Fenton.

Why did you decide you wanted to be an art teacher?

My major in college was glassblowing. During my junior year, I decided to double major and get a BFA in Glass and a teaching certification in Art. My intention was to work as a glass artist, but when I relocated to Pittsburgh after graduating, I didn’t have any glass connections, so I decided to start subbing as an art teacher. I have always enjoyed sharing knowledge and technique and nurturing creativity.

What is your favorite part of being a teacher at NA and why?

Summer vacation. Just kidding, the students are the best part. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting students, having conversations, and my favorite part, seeing all of the artwork that they create. With all of the advanced curriculum offered at NA, teaching at NASH is like teaching college students.

What is your best advice for students who wish to pursue the arts after high school?

As with everything in life, if you want to make it as an artist, you need to work hard. You need to be disciplined and committed. You need to market yourself and your work. It isn’t easy, but you will be the envy of all of your friends by making a living doing something you love. 

What is your biggest pet peeve as a teacher?

Students that pick their nose in class. Ewww. That’s gross. We can see you. Please stop.

Who is your teacher best friend?

I couldn’t pick just one. My hallway neighbors have always had my back.

Name three things you would need if you were stranded on a desert island and why?

I’ve watched enough Survivor to know that I would need food, water, and shelter.

If you were not a teacher at NA, what would you do and why?

When I graduated high school, my plan was to become a tattoo artist. I moved to New York City and studied art at the School of Visual Arts. Life rarely goes as planned and I ended up in Philadelphia studying glass. If I wasn’t a teacher, I would probably be a glassblower or a tattoo artist.

If you could live anywhere during retirement, where would you choose?

When I was younger, I wanted to live in a castle in Scotland. Later, I dreamt about the South of France. As I get closer to retirement, realistically my girlfriend and I want to live somewhere close enough to our daughters that we can call home when we are not traveling. I need a place where I can make art.

Weirdest/strangest/coolest photo you’ve ever taken?

Probably something shot on infrared film at an abandoned mental institution. 

Favorite band/musician?

CRASS. I was fortunate to see one of the lead singers perform a bunch of their songs this year, despite the fact that the band broke up a long time ago.

Favorite local restaurant?

I don’t currently have a favorite, but I have been spotted at Waffles, Incaffeinated.

Favorite food?

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 16. I am partial to ethnic food that is vegetarian friendly.

All-time favorite song?

This is an impossible question. My favorite song changes on a daily basis. I couldn’t pick an all-time favorite.

What is your middle name?

Alan

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I may have had a mohawk when I was in high school.

If you could be an animal for a day, what animal would you be and why?                                                             

I think most people would pick something exotic, like a tiger, but you would be hunted or captured and spend most of the day in a cage. I’d pick an animal that gave me superpowers like the ability to fly and be nearly invisible. While they are not glamorous, a fly would give me both opportunities.

If you could have dinner with three people in the world (famous or not) who would they be and why?

  1. My Mom. She passed away in 2021. I’d love to see her again and tell her how much I love her. 
  2. Her father. I never met him. He disappeared when she was 14. There are so many unanswered questions. Meeting him would help bring her closure. 
  3. My girlfriend’s mom. She passed away way too soon. I’d want my girlfriend to have the opportunity to see her mom again and say all the things she has been longing to say.
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About the Contributor
Scout Gilliland
Scout Gilliland, Staff Writer
Scout Gilliland is a junior at NASH and this is her first year writing for The Uproar. She runs for the NA Cross Country Team, plays the flute in the Band, and dances at Michele's School of Dance. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends and likes to be involved in her church.  

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