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    Farewell to Cantrell

    A beloved English leaves PRHS after teaching here for 28 years

    PRHS says farewell to beloved English teacher  Aaron Cantrell, departing for an indefinite leave after teaching for 28 years. Cantrell has taught just about every English course that PRHS offers across his  28 years of teaching, currently teaching AP Language and co-teaching 10th grade English. He has been pushing students to think and write well since 1996 at PRHS.

    Cantrell’s impact on our campus hasn’t just been in his English classes. When Cantrell  first started to teach at PRHS he was the assistant coach for the wrestling team, the adviser and starter of programs including the “Academic Booster Club,” which helped raise money to award scholarships to graduating students. Cantrell founded the JOI (Junior Optimist International) club, now the Optimist Club. He is the Interact adviser, the founding advisor of GANAS (Growth Always and Never Stop), the adviser of FCA and past advisor for the Conservative Club.

    A former colleague of Cantrell, Sean Pierce, spoke of his leadership well: “ Mr. Cantrell and I  formed the Honors English and Advanced Placement (HEAP) Team in 2003, when he began teaching AP English.  A few years later, Mr. Mount and Mr. Arnette joined the team. As the leader of the  team, Mr. Cantrell emphasized the concept of EXCELSIOR, to keep reaching ever higher.  The results speak for themselves on our AP English Walls of Fame in the 1000 building.  It’s also important to note that Mr. Cantrell was the first AP teacher to collaborate with former AVID teacher Anne Sponhauer to welcome AVID students into our program without any prerequisites.”

    “They say it’s better to burn out than to rust out. So I wanted to stay busy,” Cantrell said. His busy success had a huge impact on many students,  although he disagreed in his well-known humble fashion.

    Cantrell said his favorite memories are everywhere. “They are all centered around kids who realize that they have more power than they think that they have. So this just happened: a certain student that I like a lot and respect a lot, got accepted to her dream school, and didn’t think that she could. And so all of my favorite memories all involve people realizing that they are more powerful than they think they are. And by the way, all of my all my worst memories– note: there aren’t a lot of these but there are a couple–my  worst memories are always people saying it’s impossible or they doubt themselves or they think that things can’t get better because of reasons. Those are my least favorite things,” Cantrell said.

    These memories are what led Cantrell to create a program like GANAS because of students like Elias Duenas who helped him realize that bad grades aren’t always a cause of bad students but rather the cause of bad situations. So Cantrell founded GANAS to help students improve their grades by having a mentor guide them and also had students connect with members of our community if they had any interest in their job.   He rejoices in the fact that Dr. Sayne has brought an amazing group of citizens together to help our youth under the BEST program (Boys’ Empowerment Support Team).

    “He’s a very outgoing person. He promotes discussion and really tries to get you to express your own opinions. He’s very geared towards having everyone discuss things rather than keep opinions to themselves,” Kyle Dart, a current student of Cantrell’s AP Language and member of GANAS said.

    It’s important to note that Mr. Cantrell has always pushed all of his students to reach their highest potential, whether they are college-bound or not. Likewise, Mr. Cantrell has always pushed his colleagues to keep improving their programs, to make PRHS the best it could be.  He has been a great teacher, colleague, and friend to countless people (myself included) since he arrived in Paso Robles almost three decades ago, and he will be greatly missed while he’s away,” Mr. Pierce said.

    His outgoing personality and search for truth inspired  Cantrell to advise  the Conservative Club.  “Among my favorite things, too, would be that time that Hunter Breece said that we should go to the Board and ask them to get rid of our mask mandate. And they did that night, and I was told by a board member that that might have been the domino that helped the state to get rid of the mask rule,” Cantrell said.

    Cantrell was also the forefront of one of the beautification projects on our campus including most of the school’s rose bushes.  He insists that rumors of his helping with the murals are “fake news.”  100% of the credit for those goes to Mrs. Wilson and her wonderful student plus Mr. Steve Kalar.  As Cantell stated before, the walls of the 1000s Building  can look like  a hospital so how is one supposed to be happy?

    We have so much to thank Cantrell for at PRHS, although he may be leaving his legacy will stay behind and continue impacting the future students of PRHS.

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    About the Contributor
    Mateo De Alba
    Mateo De Alba, Photographer
    Mateo De Alba is a senior and photographer, currently in his first year of Crimson. In school, he participates in Leadership and volleyball. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, taking photos, hiking, and working.
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