Bon Air Elementary School teacher Paul Buesking will leave behind a colorful legacy when he retires. The school has literally worn the fruits of his and his students’ labor for the past 37 years in the Cat’s Eye Art Show.
Student work lines the main hallways of Bon Air every May as part of the annual art show Buesking started just a few years into his 42-year teaching career. Last month was his final show as he retires at the end of the school year.
Buesking, 63, was hired by Kokomo Schools right after completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Evansville in 1972 and spent his entire career at Bon Air. He also earned a master’s degree in art education from Ball State University early in his career.
“I’m a person who sticks with things. I don’t change a lot when I’m satisfied,” Buesking said. “I’ve been part of the family here, because that’s what it is.”
Just this year, Buesking worked with about 800 students at Bon Air and Pettit Park Elementary schools. He began teaching middle school students, then first through eighth grade and now elementary students.
A couple of current students’ great-grandparents also were in Buesking’s class, and it’s not uncommon for him to have taught three generations of a family.
Bon Air Principal Paula Concus recognizes the contributions Buesking has made to the school over the years.
“For Mr. Buesking, Bon Air is about family. Paul and his wife have Bon Air connections, and they have raised their family – two sons and now two daughters-in-law – all during his 42-year tenure at Bon Air. Paul’s Bon Air family extends beyond his household since Mr. Buesking has raised a generation, or two, of students at Bon Air,” Concus said. “Mr. Buesking loves teaching students about the various media for producing art. For Paul, art is about creating, and not replicating. Paul encourages the Bon Air students to observe, listen and create in their art classes. Students who think they ‘can’t’ find a way with Mr. Buesking’s help while realizing they have talent. Paul finds the artist in each student.”