Letter to the Editor: Class of 2014 valedictorian responds to dismissal of Baran


This letter is in response to the article, “Students reflect on loss of art teacher.” To read the original article, click here.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider the recent dismissal of Bruno Baran from the Art Department of the John Carroll School. While I do not know the exact circumstances surrounding his dismissal, I do know that Mr. Baran has been an immensely positive influence not only on my experience at John Carroll, but also on my life after graduation. I strongly believe that his absence from the school will be a detriment to future classes at John Carroll. I write this letter with the hope that my words will convince you of the same.

The day that I found out that Mr. Baran had left John Carroll was the same day that I declared a major in Art & Art History at Dickinson College. Bruno Baran’s exceptional instruction and inspiration is the reason that I now call myself an Art major. Coming into my first year at John Carroll, I signed up for Introduction to Drawing with Mr. Baran as nothing more than a fun elective in place of a gym class. I had a mild interest in the art program, but never planned to pursue it seriously in my years in high school, much less in college or beyond. However, after four years of instruction with Mr. Baran, I now have the skill background and the desire to pursue Art as a major and career.

Mr. Baran goes above and beyond the duties of his job when it comes to inspiring his students. In fact, when I described Mr. Baran’s art department and classes to Art majors at my college, they were amazed. Not one of the students that I spoke to had a high school art experience that came anywhere close to the variety and quality of instruction that I received from Bruno Baran. He gave us the freedom to explore mediums and styles, while providing enough guidance to help us learn technical skills. Above all, his classroom was a safe place where mistakes were never something to be feared, learning was enjoyable, collaboration was common, and growth was inevitable. It is my understanding that these qualities embody what a John Carroll education is supposed to be.

I know that I am not alone in considering my time in Mr. Baran’s art department, both in and outside of class, to be one of the most positively formative times in my life. Not only is he an exceptional art instructor, but he is also a positive influence on the personal and academic lives of his students. He is the reason that I am an Art major and the community that he fostered helped me develop friendships that have lasted years beyond graduation. My years under his art instruction helped me discover a passion for art that I will continue to develop for my entire life. I hope that you will consider giving that opportunity to future John Carroll students by reinstating Bruno Baran to the Art department at The John Carroll School. I thank you for your time and consideration of this proposal.


Margaret McGuirk

Valedictorian, John Carroll Class of 2014