Finding Harmony with Education
Growing up the child of a high school art teacher, Sean Mestan noticed his mother had an interesting way with her students, often using the rubric of art as an educational vehicle to expand into a variety of other areas, such as history, science and math.
“She was essentially teaching multiple subjects through art,” Mestan said. “And to this day, I still have people come up and tell me how much they appreciated her and the impact she had on their lives.”
His mother’s approach to education, he said, reminds him a lot about what he sees in KET.
“My mother impressed upon my sister and me the fact that getting a good education wasn’t just about having a great career or making a lot of money; it was about being well-rounded, empathetic and caring for others,” Mestan said. “KET reflects those same qualities, both with its programming and its resources. It’s educational in nature, but there are things that also help us become better people. And I love that.”
Mestan’s affinity for education, instilled by his mother, has guided much of his career and, likewise, his volunteer work. A former Spanish and adult education teacher, Mestan also has served for 14 years on Friends of KET, a network of community volunteers who help with KET’s local outreach and fundraising efforts, including two terms as the group’s president.
KET’s documentaries help you make those connections, not only with other people, but also with your personal interests. And that makes education fun.Sean Mestan
Friends of KET volunteer
His KET volunteer work has taken him all over the Commonwealth, far afield from his hometown of Princeton in Western Kentucky.
“Kentucky is an incredibly diverse state, and you can really learn a lot about it traveling around and visiting communities and learning about their history,” Mestan said. “And I think that’s true about KET’s programming — the diversity it offers, everything from historical documentaries to musical performances to food programs. There’s literally something for everyone on KET.”
Mestan taught adult education at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex, helping inmates earn their GED® equivalency certificate. His work there, he said, showed him the value of KET’s adult education resources, which can be a life raft for those looking to restart their educational journey and improve their lives for the better.
“A lot of the inmates I work with come from families in which education wasn’t stressed,” Mestan said. “It’s sad because you see how they get caught up in a cycle of poverty and crime. But a lot of them understand the importance of having their GED® when they leave the facility so they can get a job and break that cycle.”
A longtime music fan who plays guitar and ukulele in his spare time, Mestan said he personally gravitates to KET’s arts programming, particularly Austin City Limits, as well as its historical documentaries, such as Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music, which traces the history of bluegrass music beginning with its rise with Bill Monroe.
“A lot of bluegrass music was born right down the road here in Western Kentucky,” Mestan said. “KET’s documentaries help you make those connections, not only with other people but also with your personal interests. And that makes education fun. I know I find myself glued to the television because I don’t want to miss anything.”