My PCSD Story: Michael Jaszczak, Parma High class of 1980
February 4, 2019
Name: Michael Jaszczak
School: Parma Senior High
Graduation Year: 1980
College, Major(s), Degree(s) Earned, Graduation:
Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art, B.S. Art Education
Kent State University, M.A., M.F.A (Metalsmithing and Enameling)
Art Teacher and Department Chair, Parma Senior High. I am the President of the Parma Senior High Alumni Association and a member of the PCSD Foundation Board.
How did your experiences at Parma City School District help you to achieve success in your career today?
I entered Schaaf Junior High in the 7th grade. Before then, I struggled with school. The caring faculty and staff helped me understand that I could do well in school. During the three years there, and the three at Parma High, I saw firsthand the role models that have made me a caring teacher. The arts classes provided me experiences that have permeated my life’s work. I am an artist because of the PCSD.
What is your favorite school memory growing up?
There were a few teachers that inspired me. Bob Rewalt inspired me to become an art teacher. James Mayer taught me that I could be anything that I wanted to be. He taught a very shy young man that he could get in front of a large group of people and talk. In our acting group “Troupers”, he once cast me as Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He told me that he cast me in the role because he would never cast me in that role. He wanted me to push myself portraying a character that I would find very difficult. And while it was difficult at first, when I finally “let go” and became the character, it was incredibly fun. It is one of the most powerful learning experiences I could have had.
Looking back to your school years, what is one thing you learned that has stayed with you throughout the years?
How to be inspired to continue to learn and grow as an artist and individual.
What does PCSD mean to you?
The Parma Schools has been my home. I met my wife at Parma High. As a student, I learned that I could do anything. As an artist, it taught me that that I can always challenge myself. As an employee, it allowed me to work with incredible staff and students. It also provided the opportunity to serve in a variety of leadership roles that have made a 29-year career very fulfilling.
What is one thing you want people to know about you?
I am very proud of my children. Both have become wonderful teachers. My daughter became a fourth generation Art teacher, and my son is the Band Director at Parma High!
Why are you Parma Proud?
I think of how different my life could have been without the experiences I had growing up. The opportunities that I had in school have made me an advocate for my students to have the same. Parma was, and is, a great place to grow up!