The Last Show

Tonight and tomorrow will be the last show I'll get to direct with my 8th grade girls. I've kind of been dreading this since they were in 6th grade and each year that passed I'd say "At least I get them two more years" or "At least I get them one more year"....and now I say "At least I got them for 3 years."

When I first started at USchool, it was chaotic. I'd had to step down from a job in Jacksonville where I absolutely adored the students and felt a change was being made in the theatre department there. But thanks to Certification standards and math, I reluctantly stepped down and started looking again. This job brought me five hours south to a city I'd known quite well both during and after college. I was excited to be living in a bigger city where I knew a few people and was somewhat familiar.

But I missed those kids in Jax.

Enter my 6th grade Performing Arts Survey class. These kids were fresh out of 5th grade and a bit skeptical of life in Middle School, just as I was skeptical of everything going on around me. I watched them transform from preteens to teenagers. I watched them go from the Ariana Grande phase to Billie Eilish. I heard all about Shawn Mendes and Riverdale and binging shows on Netflix. I hugged them when they didn't get a role they wanted, talked with them about their future in theatre, and laughed with them about the silliest of things.

I still get to be their teacher until the end of the year. But that last bow tomorrow night might ache a little knowing that they're not going to be in another show with me, at least as an actor.

It will be like this every year. The kids in 6th grade now I've had since they were 4th graders. The kids next year I'll have had since they were in 3rd grade. As a teacher, I know that it's something you have to go through - letting these kids move on and up to grow and become even more amazing at their craft - but it still isn't easy.

I'm beyond grateful that we started Middle School together and grew together and learned together. Maybe I'm even grateful that I know that Shawn Mendes is their generation's Justin Timberlake. But above all, I'm grateful to have been their teacher.

*cue sappy music*


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