The Lasso

Adieu to Ballou after 36 years of greatness

Ballou observing his student who is working on a project. Ballou is retiring after serving 36 years as a robotics, Film studies, computer graphics, 3D modeling, and engineering design teacher. (Photo Courtesy of Carol Sly)

Ballou observing his student who is working on a project. Ballou is retiring after serving 36 years as a robotics, Film studies, computer graphics, 3D modeling, and engineering design teacher. (Photo Courtesy of Carol Sly)

Matthew Ng

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The record for career years worked at Mason is 37. Only one man, John Ballou, came close to that record with 36 years.

Mr. Ballou, who was hired to teach art in 1981, has taught film studies, computer graphics, robotics, 3D modeling, engineering design, and various art classes at George Mason for 36 years and also served as the stage crew adviser, JV show adviser, Robotics Club leader, a technician around the school, but most importantly, a teacher to those looking to invest their time into technology and creation.

“I’ve spent nearly four decades here at Mason. I’ve been fixing things, building machinery, and creating technology. I’ve probably at least once touched all the machinery in this school,” Ballou said reflecting on his time at Mason. “[Now] I want to work on a few of my own personal projects, [too].”

At the annual Fire Drill Picnic last month, senior Daraius Boston said of Ballou: “There’s a lot of teachers that stay after school and help run clubs, but Mr. Ballou goes above and beyond. He’s put in thousands and thousands of hours to robotics and stage crew, it’s just unbelievable. The resources the man provides, the dedication, it’s just amazing, and I want to thank him for all the years giving his time and knowledge to me.”

Ballou also manages the Robotics team here at Mason. In his years leading his students, he taught them many life long skills such creativity, programing, building and so many more. In the recent years, Ballou has led the team to the VHSL State Championships three times, in the 2017 season, the 2016 season, and the 2005 season. He has led his team of creators to victory time and time again, so one can only picture why some  might be in despair now that he’s leaving.

“I can’t imagine a school without him given how much responsibility he has and how well he does it. I can’t imagine how anyone else would be able to match it. He also taught me everything I know in regards to 3D modeling, which is a skill I’ll hold close for my whole life,” junior Frederick Bruner said.

All in all, Ballou holds a place in the hearts of those he has taught and helped in the Mason community. He is and will always be Mustang and part of Mason. There is no doubt he will be sorely missed and always remembered.

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