Experts say police pull over red cars more than any other vehicle. Stoplights and stop signs are also red for a reason. Red catches the eye better than any other color.
Red also signifies madness, fury, love and passion.
The living and breathing color red at Bonanza High School is Spanish teacher Geri "Gigi" Barnish.
All of her prospective and present students know Barnish is crazy; she admits it herself, but "she's funny crazy," says past student Alison Winder, a Bonanza junior.
Barnish barks and growls like a dog at her students. She also loudly whistles at students she doesn't even teach and yells at them to get to class. Sometimes in her classes, she randomly starts singing Spanish songs and acting out Spanish terms.
Barnish's explanation: "Cada loco con su tema," or every crazy person has his logic.
She has reasons behind her apparent madness. She sings in an offtune voice to wake up any sleepyheads. She barks and growls like an angry puppy so she won't lose her temper.
Barnish grew up in a family with roots in northern Mexico. Born and raised in Las Vegas with her two sisters, she considers Nevada home, but her family is the only reason Barnish still lives here. In Mexican culture, family comes first, and although one of her two daughters lives out of state, Barnish stays close with all of her relatives.
"Home is where the love is," she says.
After she graduated from Bonanza Elementary School (now Mable Hogart Elementary), Gibson Middle School and Western High School, Barnish attended the University of Nevada, Reno. She majored in Spanish because she wanted to keep true to her roots and not lose the language she spoke as a child.
"I never wanted to be a teacher or a secretary," Barnish says she figured out during her stay at UNR.
She ended up eating her words. After college, Barnish worked for eight years as a secretary at Honeywell. She became well-acquainted with computers and technology, which would benefit her in her next job.
Although she has lived in Las Vegas most of her life, her experiences are not limited to Nevada. On her 13th birthday, Barnish had an epiphany. She wanted to travel halfway around the world by 16 and see even more than that by 21. Barnish celebrated her 17th birthday in Brazil and her 21st in Spain. She has traveled all around Europe, South America, the Caribbean and the United States.
From those experiences, Barnish found that learning in fun ways is best. She carries that idea and passion for learning into the classroom, specifically in Room 309 at Bonanza.
In the school's hallways, Barnish, who stands less than 5 feet tall, can be hard to see, but her distinct voice makes it tough to miss her.
"It's probably the most effective way of learning," Barnish says about her unusual teaching methods. If it takes a funny face to remember a fact or a wild song to keep students concentrating, she'll do it. Above all, Barnish wants to make an impression on her kids. She wants to be that one teacher they remember 50 years from now.
Although Barnish initially didn't want to be a teacher, she loves it now. She does hate all the paperwork, grading and lesson plans, but it's worth it in the end.
"I love the teenage brain," she says. "Teaching is the most fun in the world."
The idea of working with high school students all day would repel many people, but it intrigues Barnish. She loves interacting with her kids. The most important thing besides learning, she says, is that students have fun.
Before Barnish came to Bonanza, she worked at William Orr Middle School for a year. After that, she went to Colorado to continue her studies and returned to Las Vegas to teach at Cheyenne High School for six years. This is Barnish's 11th year teaching at Bonanza.
All jokes aside, students say Barnish is a great teacher. Many students complain about the difficulty of her class, but she merely replies that she's just sticking to the curriculum.
"She's the best foreign language teacher at our school," says Mario Franzese, a junior at Bonanza and student of Barnish's.