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New math teacher brings varied interests to profession

Jamie Kim co-editor-in-chief

There are some who say that math is an art form, and new math teacher Ara Melikian has long ago found a way to balance both math and art in his life.

Melikian believes that his many interests, such as art, public transportation and, of course, math, are integral to understanding his multifaceted character.

One of Melikian’s greatest passions is transportation, specifically trains and buses.

“I love moving people and goods from one place to the other. I grew up in Europe and everything over there is with trains, so I fell in love with trains and buses. My favorite car in the world is a bus,” Melikian said.

In fact, Melikian houses three complete train sets and airport miniatures that fill up two rooms in his house.

After finishing college in London, where he grew up, he moved to Los Angeles for the better weather. He then worked as a civil engineer in the city, before deciding to be a teacher.

“I was bored as an engineer, so I quit my job in the city of Los Angeles, and I became a teacher,” he said. “I love that I’m busy all day long, that my day goes by so quickly without me knowing, and that I get to work with kids.”

Melikian also teaches at Glendale Community College and California State University, Los Angeles, citing that the only major difference between college students and high school students is “college students tend to be a little more mature.”

Senior AP Statistics student Nick Forys believes that Melikian’s background will add a unique touch to the class.  

“Although our work is at times overwhelming, I am very confident in Mr. Melikian as a teacher because of his extensive background in teaching statistics at the university level. And not to mention, he used to be a civil engineer,” Forys said. “His many hobbies caught me and the rest of the class by surprise because while other teachers went through the syllabus, Mr. Melikian opened up about his interests which led to the whole class sharing something about themselves. Definitely a great bonding experience!” Forys said.

In addition to teaching, Melikian spends a fair amount of his time painting, which is favorite hobby.

“Way before I decided to get into mathematics and engineering, I liked art. So, I used to paint and started going to art classes as a child,” Melikian said.

However, he decided to not go into art as a profession because he sought better financial stability.

“I knew I wouldn’t be making much of a living, unless I became an art teacher,” he said while laughing.

He finds that two of his interests can even work together.

“I see how mathematics and art complement each other all the time. I’m a logical person and I can see that they just go together,” Melikian said. “They say that the greatest mathematician of them all was God himself.”

Most of the subjects of his paintings are landscapes, since he “travels a lot, takes pictures, and then paints what [he] sees.”

Many of his paintings, in addition to photos of his train sets, can be found on his website, Toontown Milieux Photography.

One of Melikian’s favorite parts about art is the music he imagines while painting.

“There is a music that goes with every painting. I just can’t help it; it just flows,” Melikian said. “The music is in the head that moves with the painting. I never listen to any music; it just comes to me. It’s there when I am painting.”

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