I watched CODA last night—the first Oscar for Best Picture awarded to a streaming service that spent oodles of money at Sundance to get distribution rights.

I would have given the award to Dune because it was something special, but CODA was an extra good coming of age movie—it just felt like it was filmed for the Lifetime channel.

I lost track of how many times I got teary eyed.

This is a movie about family and challenges, but it’s also about music, and having a hard teacher that believes in you. It also has a few powerful hooks. When the credits rolled, all I could think about were the teachers that pushed me (against my will sometimes) to become better.

  • Mr. Kick with his passion for music and enforcing the physicality and mental focus required to vocalize.
  • Ms. McKenney coerced us to write better, edit wiser and tell stories.
  • Ms. Bird taught math and somehow made it engaging, but it was her love of technology that really stoked the fire. She taught me how to use a computer as a design tool.
  • Frau Hatfield championed understanding different cultures and expanding our worldview. She developed one of the first study abroad programs at our high school. That semester in Germany changed how I viewed, well, everything. (The bread alone was worth the trip.)
  • Paul Nini laid out the principles of design and kept humanity at the core of it at OSU.
  • Shirley Olsen was unwavering when it came to the nuance and power of typography.
  • Robert Abbott taught me how to build context and reason into interfaces.

I look back on this list and realize, there are lots more folks that have taught me things since the days of school and my first job. But there’s also this realization that I need to seek out new opportunities to expand, learn new things and push myself outside of comfort.