By Devin Dubon
Odalis Soto is an artist, but her work is not limited to canvas, digital design, and sculpture. In fact, her classroom is her largest mosaic.
Walk into her classroom and become immediately immersed in living, breathing art, in bright vibrant colors or in muted pastels or even ink blots and advertising campaigns. There is a sense of orderly chaos. Everywhere there are students drawing, either by hand or using drawing software; tables are covered in all types of paint or pencils; and the walls are wallpapered with her students’ work.
Amidst the amalgam of students is Ms. Soto, going to each student, providing individual attention and advice to each student.
Ms. Soto teaches Digital Art, AP Studio Art and serves as the Communications Academy leader at Miami Lakes Educational Center. Before joining the MLEC family in 2004, Ms. Soto taught graphic design at HML and before that she worked at Warner Brothers.
Throughout her long career, she has always dedicated herself to inspiring her students to realize their potential.
“I always put my students first,” she responded immediately to my asking her why she thought she won. “My priority are my kids: My kids’ wellbeing, my kids’ assurance of knowing that I have expectations that they are successful in my classroom so they can leave and graduate with a sense of achievement, but also knowing that they have abilities, skills, and talents in life.”
To Soto, her students are “her kids,” not just students. She does not just teach them how to master Photoshop and Illustrator; she does not only teach them about public relations and advertising or mass marketing and audience analytics. Odalis Soto teaches her kids to “be professional.” More importantly, she teaches them to believe in themselves and she proves to them that she believes in their ability to succeed.
She has left her mark on countless students but, she has literally left a mark on Miami Lakes Educational Center. In 2011 she and her students created a mosaic. The vivid colored tiles were broken, smoothed and later painstakingly rearranged to create the Jaguar, our school’s mascot, under our school’s name, reminding us all that we — like this beautiful art piece — are a mosaic.
Source:: The Harbinger