New art teacher Silvia Torres aspires to share her appreciation for art with her students


Emma Wasel

This year will be Torres’s tenth year of teaching, but her first year at SCHS.

From working in ceramic production to running an organic community college farm, Silvia Torres is now working part time as a new addition to the Visual & Performing Arts Department at SCHS. For the 2021-2022 school year, Torres is teaching three Intro to Art classes.

“The Intro to Art classes focus on giving students drawing, painting and ceramics background,” Torres said. “For an Intro to Art class, one of the things I think that is the most important is to foster a love for the art world.”

Growing up in Redwood City, Torres’s passion for the arts started in high school.

“I honestly kind of tripped into it when I was in high school,” Torres said. “I took a ceramics class and absolutely fell in love with it. That’s kind of what got me hooked, so I went from there.”

At UC Santa Barbara, Torres graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and English. She continued on to earn her teaching credential from San Francisco State University. The road to becoming a teacher, however, was not an easy one.

After her first five years of teaching at Menlo-Atherton High School, Torres moved to New York to work in ceramic production, then later switched to marketing. Along the way, she stumbled into farming, where she entered a UC Santa Cruz program that trained her on how to run a farm.

“There’s a program at UC Santa Cruz called the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems,” Torres said. “They run an apprenticeship that teaches you what you need to know about organic farming in order to start running a farm. I came to California and did that.”

After completing the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems program, Torres ran her own farm for over three years.

“Then, I moved back to New York and ran a community college farm. I did that for three years, maybe four years. It was super fun,” Torres said.

She returned to teaching and is now beginning her tenth year. Torres always had strong feelings for following her interests.

“My path was definitely not linear, and when I left teaching the first time, I said to everyone, ‘Oh, I’ll come back in ten years. I need to do something else.’ And I did, and I came back almost ten years exactly,” Torres said.

Torres reflected upon the lessons she gained in her college experiences and career paths in order to inform her teaching.

“I had an assignment to make wearable art and I was making a pair of wings made out of recycled aluminum cans,” Torres said. “Our critique was on a Friday, and it was Wednesday. I was awake for three days working on making these wings, and I finished them. When I went home after the critique, I totally crashed. But I think it takes that kind of dedication to what you’re doing that requires you to feel that everything is important or special.”