Letters to the Editor

Dammarell is missed at North Kitsap High School

Somewhere, Shakespeare writes, “praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear.”

This so applies to Doug Dammarell, who taught art at the high school for many years and retired in October. He is missed by his students and colleagues. We remember him helping students discover their inner Caravaggio, or Picasso, or Lucian Freud or an as yet non-established style. Doug awakened creativity. I have seen in his class and at exhibition time in the hallways examples of budding and accomplished artists.

Doug made a huge impact on many students. One of them told me less than a week ago, “When I paint, I am calm, I am in a different world.”

After all, art and music are the creative essence of humans alone. It is imperative that we cultivate this gift. Kafka, in his “The Metamorphosis and The Trial,” places a heavy punishment on the protagonists who neglected this gift. Think of the loss to civilization had great promising artists not been given the opportunity to develop their genius.

When I think back on my own high school years, I liked school but I loved music, art and photography because it let me be creative. All three are still my hobbies.

And when I taught history at NK for eight memorable years, art was always an integral part of the history lesson and, to a lesser extent, music. After all, Beethoven composed music based on historic events, and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture “depicts” Napoleon’s defeat in Russia.

And, of course, listening to the music produced by teenagers under the guidance of their teachers at NKHS is yet another exhilarating experience, a demonstration of what young people are capable of. There is such great pool of potential at NKHS. Some of it may even spill over to history.

Thank you Doug. We remember you fondly.

James Behrend
Bainbridge Island


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