By Renae Hoffman Walker
In June, Julie Barth retired after 27 years of teaching graphic arts for Bismarck Public Schools. In August, one of her students, Abby Anderson, will take her place at the Career Academy. There were 20 applicants for Julie’s job and four were former students! As the Chinese proverb goes, the grasshopper becomes the master.
Here’s a profile of the lives of these artistic women, which are somewhat parallel.
Schools: moved to Bismarck from Rapid City, SD at age 12; attended Roosevelt Elementary, former Hughes Ju
nior High, and Bismarck High. She graduated from Bismarck Junior College (now Bismarck State College) with a two-year commercial arts degree in 1973 and a master’s degree from UND in 2003.
Jobs: worked part-time for KFYR TV while in college; full-time for 15 years until the job was cut back to part-time; then had eight jobs in three years before teaching part-time for BPS in graphic arts.
Industry Changes: started at KFYR TV in 1971 making $1.40 an hour doing slides on a table top letter press. “You had to set the metal type, ink it, and roll over it to create text for slides on TV. There wasn’t a lot of artwork until we got clear transparencies. We also processed film for TV in both color and black and white. Later we did paste ups with a drawing board and waxer. Now it’s all computerized.” At one time, KFYR had a full print shop and silk screening business in the basement and employed 12 people. When she left, there were only two employees. Julie also used a Compugraphic machine, which was a precursor to the computer. While teaching, she used a MAC and Adobe Creative Suite CS6 software.
On Teaching: Julie has an easy-going, warm, caring personality. She shows students that she cares about them as individuals and recognizes their unique qualities and abilities. Helping special needs students succeed is one of her passions.
Julie on Abby: “Kids knew Abby in high school because of her dreadlocks. I think it’s great that I taught a student graphic design and now she’s going to be a teacher. It’s kind of cool!”
Family: Julie and her husband Paul have been happily married for 44 years, have three children and three grandchildren. All of her kids took career/vocational classes through Bismarck Public Schools. Oldest child Carmel (Gonzales) took Commercial Art from her mom for two years and presently works in finance at a Las Vegas resort. She is married with three children and a baby on the way. Son Aaron works for the Fort Lincoln Foundation and is recently married. He took two years of carpentry in high school and is currently remodeling his home. Youngest son Matthew is a drywall estimator in Las Vegas. He took three years of electronics through BPS.
Future Plans: do some traveling and spend time with family. Then she wants to take some time for herself. “When you teach, you are absorbed. You have to be on stage and have lessons prepared or the kids will take advantage of you.” Julie plans to fulfill a lifelong dream of creating an art room in her home. She will also continue to be involved at her church and be a part of the local Business and Professional Women’s group.
Schools: moved to Bismarck from Kansas at age 10; attended Simle Middle School where she was exposed to Kim Eslinger’s graphics and communications class. While at Century High, she took Kim’s class at the Career Academy in 10th grade, then Julie’s class as a junior, then was a co-op student for the graphic design program as a senior, graduating in 2008 with enough credits to articulate her first semester at Bismarck State College. In 2010, she graduated from BSC with two-year Graphic Design & Communications degree and later got a BS degree in Graphic Communications/Multi-Media from Minnesota State/Moorhead in 2014.
Jobs: camera operator for Dakota Wizards basketball (2011-12); production specialist at Dakota Media Access (2008-2013); graphics prepress technician for CL&D Graphics in WI (2015-2016). Next: teaching!
Industry Changes: “Good graphic design is something everyone can see and fundamentally understand, even if you speak a different language. We are surrounded by advertising every day. When companies are marketing to you, you need to use critical thinking skills to understand what and why they are really trying to sell you. I’m excited to incorporate critical thinking skills into my classroom.”
On Teaching: “I look forward to working with Kim again. We will rock the graphic design program. It will be fun to carry on Julie’s work and enhance it with today’s generation. I hope to bring exciting energy and outside work experiences to my class.”
Abby on Julie: “She is so sweet, considerate, caring and helpful, even when kids have personal problems.”
Family: just her Harley, which she likes to ride in varied terrains found in Minnesota and Wisconsin vs. flat North Dakota!
Future Plans: attend the BPS new teacher workshop August 8-11 and begin teaching August 25 at the Career Academy. In her spare time, Abby would love to do more typography work and build up her pin striping skills. “I’m really into motorcycles and cars. There are creative outlets there, too. My dad did a lot of pre-World War II automotive restoration when I was growing up.”
Renae Hoffmann Walker has loved to write since 1st grade. She is a Bismarck native, started as a KFYR TV reporter and has enjoyed many years as Community Relations Director at Bismarck Public Schools. She and her husband Dwayne are river rats, empty nesters, and seasoned travelers.