Thank you so much for your spotlight on Barry Bruner, art teacher at Whitney Young High School [October 22]. I started at Whitney Young in seventh grade and graduated in 1986. I had Mr. Bruner for art when I was a junior. I was one of the lucky ones. Whitney Young has always been a special school for most of us who attended, and Mr. Bruner personified the excitement of attending a school where many of the teachers were actually interested in each student. I have never had any talent for art, but I never got that from Mr. Bruner. He commented on my assignments, encouraging me to try different techniques–ones that actually helped me learn specific lessons he taught. I was so impressed with him that I began to believe that I could actually practice art in my own individual ways without feeling badly. He was the first art teacher who shared and coached and supported and admired! He was patient, knowledgeable, kind, funny, interesting, and interested! He is a standout among many very capable and wonderful public school teachers and exemplifies both the spirit of the 60s and the uniqueness of the student and teaching body at Whitney Young. I never knew a student at Young who didn’t feel encouraged by Mr. Bruner’s teaching style, and everyone always had wonderful things to say about him. I am happy that he is ready to retire and pursue more of his interests, and I wish for him all the best and am sure he will be rewarded for all the students he helped to appreciate art and nurture.

Heather Sibley

Whitney Young

class of 1986