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The Man Behind the Wheel

You may know him from his speed walks to the kiln during school hours or from positive remarks students have made about him outside the classroom. If you haven’t spoken to this bundle of joy, you’re missing out. Meet Mr. Robert Boriskin, CB’s effervescent ceramics teacher of 16 years. Mr. Boriskin can brighten anyone’s day […]

You may know him from his speed walks to the kiln during school hours or from positive remarks students have made about him outside the classroom. If you haven’t spoken to this bundle of joy, you’re missing out. Meet Mr. Robert Boriskin, CB’s effervescent ceramics teacher of 16 years. Mr. Boriskin can brighten anyone’s day with his infectious laugh, making the school day a little more tolerable.

I won’t lie, I was really hesitant to write this article in fear of doing an injustice to such a wholesome person like Mr. Boriskin. Being taught by him has been the luckiest experience I’ve ever had. He embraces your failures and is endlessly inspiring to all his students, his laugh radiating throughout the room and brightening your day even when it feels impossible.

Mr. Boriskin is not the man you’d expect him to be, having been drafted in the Vietnam War and experiencing a whole new world at such a young age. We’ve heard about the pain and suffering soldiers experienced through our history classes, but Mr. Boriskin had a different awakening through this horrific event.

Boriskin has always had an interactive classroom, expressing his creativity all around the room.

Mr. Boriskin has always been an artistic person, having experimented with different art forms all throughout his life like painting and sketching. He sparked his love for ceramics after taking a leap of faith and taking a class on the art form at Moorpark Junior College. “‘Oh I’ll try that!’ and then I started working with the clay and there was something that was very natural,’” he says of his first experience with ceramics. It’s a short but sweet explanation from the man behind the wheel that explains why he is the creative man he is today. 

Having a “flipped classroom,” students are able to truly devote their time to working with clay, being creative, and not focusing on the technology around us. When we have a flipped classroom, students take notes outside of school through Schoology, so that they have more time to have fun with clay during the school day. Usually, this means phones are off limits inside the classroom— be ready to do push-ups of you’re caught with your phone out! If you are ever have the pleasure to be taught by Mr. Boriskin, you should he is a very sincere soul who cares more about real connections with students versus what’s on a screen.

As a disclaimer, Mr. Boriskin does not watch much TV — no Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max for all you The Last of Us lovers. He’s a very traditional person, not owning any social media and often banning phones in the classroom.

Always keep an eye out for fun, informational posters in room 306!

Mr. Boriskin isn’t just a ceramics teacher — he has a life of his own outside of school. He’s a simple man yet makes the most out of his lifestyle. Shocking to some, Mr. Boriskin is a very active person, maintaining a healthy lifestyle full of love and activity. 

“I also play golf. My son and I play a lot — that’s my primary golf partner, but I also coached golf here for a while,” Mr. Boriskin says. I don’t know much about golf, but I’m sure Mr. Boriskin can answer any questions thrown at him. He began his golf journey with his wife, again out of curiosity, shortly after they got married. It’s safe to say that Mr. Boriskin enjoys his journey in life, emphasizing how it’s never too late to start a new activity or hobby. 

It may be shocking to most when they learn how resentful people were to this bottle of sunshine — the war affected his smile as well as other’s perception of his once infectious persona. Mr. Boriskin was always a flirt, someone people were easily attracted to with his demeanor and joyous outlook on life. Coming back from Vietnam without his typically flowing hair and his usual vivacious self, people began shaping new narratives around the brave returning soldiers.

“I sort of have a friendly personality, but what I looked like stopped that. I had enough experience that just my physical lack of hair became pretty painful and I carried it with me for a long time,” Mr. Boriskin expresses. Although he’s been through absolute hell, you would never know just by having him as a teacher. 

If you ever have the opportunity to join in on a ceramics class with Mr. Boriskin, take that leap of faith. If you want to try something new, don’t let your mind stop you from doing so. I’ve learned so much about how to have an optimistic mindset and have learned to accept how art is not always going to be perfect. I encourage everyone reading to take ceramics with Mr. Boriskin at CB — it was the best decision several students, including myself, made in our time at CB.

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