Spotlight On: Art Teacher John Riggins


Art on displayed at school by Riggins's students

Haisa Nguyen, Staff Writer

There are many teachers here at Centennial who have been with the community for many years. Some of them have even been here since Centennial first opened. Today we’ll focus on John Riggins, an art teacher, who has taught Photo Design 1-4, AP Art History, Art History 1 and 2, AP Studio Art, 2D, 3D, and drawing here for over 20 years. He has been through a lot since then, including a total of eight principals, and over 4,000 students. 

Before moving to Centennial, Riggins was a substitute teacher for about four months for various schools throughout Fulton County. He then met both of the assistant principals at Riverwood High School who informed him about the opening of Centennial High School. He liked what he heard, and since he enjoyed all that he had done as a substitute teacher, he applied for a job here. 

Over the years, Riggins said that there have been many changes throughout the school: “Each year is different because the students are different.The demographic has changed.The facility has grown bigger, we have more room. We have more expansions like the band got an entire expansion, the science wing got an expansion,” He added.  

Art from Riggins' students

A variety of multi media drawings, scultptures, and still lives form Riggins’ students. Credit: Haisa Nguyen

Since first becoming a teacher here, Riggins has also changed both as a teacher and as a person: “I’m not the same teacher I was when I started… I’ve gotten, I think, better at teaching, I’ve seen students doing better, and I understand how to do art better… Of course, this all comes from experience, and I’ve been doing this for 22 years.” 

Riggins has had many students who have taken his class that also go on to pursue art in college and as an actual career. Riggins plans on staying here to see out all his AP students because he has made a commitment to them: “I’m staying because I make a commitment to my students. When I interview students for my AP classes, I’m telling them that I’m going to be their AP teacher next year, and so that’s what keeps me coming back,” He said.