From Nancy A. Green, Drama/English teacher, North Harford High School:
Dear Sirs and Madams:
For the 5th year in a row, my students and I had the opportunity to attend the wonderful North East Theatre Festival held at Bel Air High School this past weekend. It was much needed inspiration that reminded me exactly why I love my profession, why I believe in the awesome power of theatre and music and the value of arts education, and how much respect I have for my hard-working, dedicated fellow educators of HCPS.
The opportunity to see my students work hard, strive for excellence and be recognized for their efforts, determination, and talent is validating for them and for me. To be an observer of the months of preparation and challenging processes students undertake as they select high level dramatic literature, analyze it, and translate it into performance of a human story that has the power to educate, inspire, and empower is to observe the highest standards and potentials of which students in HCPS are capable. To watch kids prepare, practice, perform and excel in a spirit of collective, unified goodwill as was the atmosphere of this weekend’s North East Theatre Festival, hosted by the amazing Bel Air Drama Company at BAHS, under the incredible direction of Paul Bowden, Terri Mathews, and Ben Smith, with the support and involvement of parent volunteers, is a transformative experience for all who take part.
For me- it was a reminder of the dedicated professionals teaching art, drama, and music to the students of HCPS. Teachers like Mr. Smith, Ms. Mathews, and Mr. Bowden who spend countless (unpaid) hours organizing this immense event so that it runs like clockwork and everyone is ensured a meaningful and wonderful time. Every school from Harford County who attended was attended by their drama teachers who also sacrificed their Friday and Saturday and many additional hours rehearsing (unpaid) so that their students had an opportunity to shine!
And shine they did!! They shone in competitions adjudicated by theatre professors and professionals in the business. They were recognized, and in some cases, even recruited by those professors, and then attended various college level workshops led by them. They shone on the main stage, where students from 12 schools from around the county, state, and region unloaded their props, sets, and costumes to be greeted by the professional student stage and tech crews from BADC who welcomed them and helped them feel as if they were on their home stages (only this is the awesome, huge state of the art theatre at BAHS.) Students had the opportunity to perform for a receptive audience of teachers, parents, college professors from esteemed theatre programs, and their peers from neighboring schools and schools far away. It is as diverse an audience as they are kind and supportive- in an atmosphere which is one of fellowship, respect, friendly competition, goodwill and celebration. It is truly awe inspiring, powerful, and moving to see students from everywhere celebrating life, music, literature, art, and most importantly- each other.
This is performance based assessment at its finest. This is a testament to the transformative power of the arts and the value and importance of arts education. This is a prime example of setting and achieving high standards and demonstrating excellence.
If you ever need a reminder of the devoted teachers working in our county schools, the capability of our students to achieve great success, or the kinds of excellent programs happening in classrooms county-wide, plan on stopping by the North East Theatre Festival next year for yourself- or better yet, check out your nearest high schools’ spring production. It is a tribute to the many, many wonderful things happening in our schools today.
Thank you to those dedicated teachers who keep the arts alive in our schools- who foster excellence in their students and teach them to be kind to one another.
Thank you Terri Mathews, Ben Smith and Paul Bowden and the BADC for giving me just the rejuvenation and inspiration I needed as February sets in, by reminding me through your hard work, dedication, and excellence that our students deserve the very best- and will achieve it provided the opportunities great teachers like you work tirelessly to create for all of our kids.
Nancy A. Green
Drama/ English teacher
Director – NHHS Productions
Troupe Sponsor ITS Troupe 7045
North Harford High School