We're all masterpieces, according to Richard Hight. Diamonds in the rough, according to the guest speaker at the Connections to the Future luncheon at Rowland High School on Nov. 15.

And teachers are often the artists who draw out our talents, outlining our strengths for happy, productive lives. The speaker and artist used his talents to inspire students in his message "The Making of a Masterpiece."

His address was the keynote of the annual event that allows students in the career certification programs at Nogales and Rowland high schools to network with local business and community leaders.

It gives the seniors a chance to practice their employment skills. They are also inspired by speakers such as Hight.

Rowland High business student Ulises Bahena talks to Nogales High Photography Teacher Skelly Miller. (Photo by Gina Ward courtesy of the Rowland Unified School District)

The Oklahoma artist used vibrant colors as he created a work of art right in front of the audience. The mural came to life as music played in the background.

When finished, Hight picked up the microphone to share some memories and life lessons. He began by explaining the two most important days in everyone's lives.

"There's two great days in everyone's life. The day they're born, and the day they find out why," Hight said with a grin.

"I was born with the gift of dyslexia. I could just as easily draw this picture upside down," Hight said. "Anytime a teacher asked me a question I got it right. Whenever I had to write it down, it came out wrong."

So it surprised him when he was put in an advanced math class in middle school.

"That's where I learned to draw, in that math class," Hight recalled. "One hot Wednesday in our little country school in Oklahoma, the teacher left the classroom. So I ran up to the blackboard and covered the math assignments with one of my drawings."

She never said a word, but checked our hands as we filed single file out of her classroom.

"The next time our math teacher left the room, I rushed up to the blackboard and found 24 colors of chalk to make a colorful work of art. I even signed my name to it," Hight remembered.

That's when the budding artist learned the most important lesson in his life.

"I learned to focus on my strengths, not my weaknesses. I wanted to go from good at something to great at it," said Hight, who went on to take every art course he could find.

Later he learned that the teacher had bought the colorful chalk just for him.

"I realized I wasn't the only artist in the classroom that day. My math teacher was and her students were the canvas. He was making masterpieces out of us," Hight continued. The high school seniors have worked hard to complete their career certifications. They proudly stood in front of their displays, showcasing their work.

"I want to become a graphic designer, maybe work on video games or animated movies," said Jazzmine Mark.

The 17-year-old said the career pathway in arts and communications has been very helpful. The Rowland senior plans to study at Mt. SAC before transferring to the Art Center of Los Angeles.

"I wasn't very confident before. The courses have made me more professional. Now I know how to interview for a job and put together a good resume," Mark maintains.

Classmate Daniel Cervantes clearly wants to become a performer. The 17-year-old showed his talent when he sang the national anthem. The high school actor hopes to study with the California Institute of Arts or The Young Americans. Click HERE for entire story!