Students return from summer break to discover many changes in the art hall

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Michelle Levine

Many people don’t know that this year will be the ceramics teacher and “Art Captain” of the Creative Department’s last before retirement. As Toby Covich explains himself, “I was looking forward to making this my most energetic and fun year with my students,and hoping to go out on a positive note.” Unfortunately, this was not possible due to a leg injury. Or as Timothy Johnson would joke around and say, “He seemed frustrated about not being able to start the retirement year on the right foot.”


A week before the start of the school year Covich was archery deer hunting with a friend. He slipped and fell back sliding down the bank and his right foot caught under him as his upper body slid on top of it. There was a loud pop and Covich assumed he had broken his leg! It was a relief to discover that there were no broken bones. However, on closer examination his knee cap was sideways and there was a large dent above it. His quadricep muscle was detached and slid up his leg all the way outside of his thigh. Healing and rehabbing the leg after this tragic injury is a long 6 month to a year process and that still does not achieve 100% mobility.


While Covich is out, Katri Uno, Kaya’s mother and former ceramics class mate of Covich, will take his place. Although she admits herself that, “Nobody can replace Toby, but I enjoy working in the ceramics lab.” Although Uno is content and believes that students are “genuinely gorgeous people”, something in the art hall is still “off”. As Uno works across the hall from her daughter at her favorite high school, many boundaries are being pushed. Current ceramic student, Aaron Garcia admires Uno and thinks that, “Katri is amazing and very loving which makes her tolerant toward mayhem.” Garcia also explains, “The absence of Toby has given the Art Hall less authority therefore causing students to take advantage of the imbalance.” As students freely express themselves, the Art Hall still maintains a healthy environment for students to expand their creativity within.


Sadly, there is a possibility this mayhem will continue next year as Covich retires. Johnson confesses, “Katri is the perfect temporary replacement.” But, he also admits that “the Art Department will be losing it’s greatest asset next year and replacing him will be no easy task because of his dedication, years of experience, and overall knowledge of the educational interworking of Placer High School.” Kaya Uno agrees by sharing that, “I miss him all day everyday. Not seeing him everyday now is hard enough, not seeing him next year seems even harder.”


Covich chooses to retire at this point in his life in order to maintain a healthy and energetic retirement for activities. Although he will be kept busy, he admits he will miss the many great new young adults he has been fortunate to create lasting relationships and friendships with. Covich claims, “I will age more quickly being removed from their young energy.” This is especially true at such a special High School. Covich himself graduated from Placer in 1972. He has worked his entire career there and is a true Hilman. Or as  Covich would say,  “ I bleed green and gold”.


Although Covich’s temporary absence reminds us of what next year may be missing, it also acts as a reminder of how much gratitude Placer beholds for him. Covich will always be considered an Auburn legend as he continues to fish, hunt, and bike ride (hopefully with no injuries!).


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