Anton Zhou has been working on his art for at least 12 years now. He was a 14 year old 8th grader when I retired from teaching, and he painted my portrait which I keep in my office.
His work is far more advanced and mature today. He has many awards and recognitions, including being named a Texas Young Master by the Texas Commission on the Arts. His entry in this year's Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (the world's largest) sold for a record $221,000. Now the Livestock Show is a charity and the bids are always over the top, but that is still a lot of money. You can see Anton's work here.
Attending the exhibition were a number of my ex-students, and I had the opportunity to chat with most of them. And what a thrill that was for me. Their aims and ambitions are every bit as stratospheric as Anton's. They are headed to the country's finest universities - Columbia, Cornell, MIT, Rice, UC Berkley - and they are looking to study and work with the big ideas - bio-chemistry, applied mathematics, artificial intelligence. And knowing these kids, there is nothing pie-in-the-sky about their plans. I can feel their excitement, and I know they will make it happen.
An event like this almost makes me want to "unretire" and go back to the classroom. Almost.