The Dart: Art teacher enjoys working on cars in spare time
Published 4:00 pm Sunday, November 13, 2022
BROOKHAVEN — As the sun began to set on Brookhaven, Kevin Bower finished washing his black 2006 Mazda Miata Convertible in his front yard on Brookwood Drive close to where The Dart landed. He stopped to talk despite his shoes being soaking wet.
Bower is a native of Clinton but moved to Brookhaven in 1999. He is an art teacher at Brookhaven High School where he is in year 24 of teaching at BHS. Before Brookhaven, Bower worked in Laurel for four years so he has 28 years of teaching experience.
In high school, Bower said he played soccer, was in the band and enjoyed art classes. He drew a lot as a kid, enjoyed music and had an inkling he could teach art. It was the one thing he did all year round.
“My high school art teacher in Clinton helped me get a job here. I tell my students now you never know where your job will come from,” Bower said. “My high school principal was a superintendent here too so he might have called the teacher in Clinton.”
He coached soccer for 25 years until recently retiring and he also coaches cross country where he just finished his fourteenth season with the program.
Outside of school, he plays the drums and sings in the choir at Clear Branch Baptist Church. One of the things he tells his students is to find something they enjoy doing at school besides class because it will make life more fun. Music and art are two things he enjoyed.
Additionally, Bower works on cars and bikes in his free time. Cleaning a car is one way he takes out any aggravation.
His students used to joke that he would never get rid of his wagoner, he said. He sold it a few years ago and bought a Miata. It has been fun working on it, he said.
“I always wanted a British sports car or a Fiat Spider. My first car was a Fiat Spider and I could never get the motor to work right,” he said. “My dad had a British sports car. I wanted to have that but the cost of the Miata was the same and it had all the bells and whistles of AC, automatic shifting and a CD player. I have enjoyed it so far. My wife and I have been on trips in it. It is a lot of fun.”
Retiring from coaching soccer has allowed him more time to work on cars, mow yards for fellow teachers and fix bikes for the kids in the neighborhood. Across the street, a white 1964 Volvo sits underneath a carport. It is a project car that took about 15 years, new brakes and Ford Ranger tires to get driveable. Bower estimates he has owned 30 cars over his lifetime.
“10 of them were Volkswagens, eight vans and two Beatles. In college, I would buy cars and work on them a bit before selling them to pay for tuition,” he said. “Four Mazdas, two Volvos, two Fiats, a Buick and a pontiac. I have always liked cars and I really hate to see them sit. I’d rather get them up and driving.”
He has four kids aged 8, 14, 19 and 23. The 23-year-old will soon tie the knot, he said. Brookhaven is a great place to live, he added.
“I have enjoyed it here,” Bower said. “I have always liked living in Mississippi. Except the year I lived in the Delta. It was too flat there.”