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    Fare thee well Mr. Anderson

    I found out that one of my high school teachers passed away yesterday.
    Strangely what I feel today is not a feeling a loss, but rather quite the opposite – a discovery. A discovery of self. It wasn’t until I started reading my friends’ posts about the influence he had on them that I realized the impact he had on my life, and who I am today because of being exposed to him.

    I’ll be honest, following graduation, I didn’t think about Mr. Anderson much. I remember him as a somewhat callous, but entertaining person to be around. I was intimidated and kind of scared of him. You see, Mr. Anderson was my theatre director. I never had him for an English or Theatre teacher, but I auditioned for plays in his program. He had my friend B spend time with me over lunch, on that high school stage, teaching me how to “be big” and flirt with my body in such a way that the audience in the back row could see it (I was Bianca in Taming of the Shrew, so this was kind of a requirement). I thought that I was just a bad actor. Well, maybe I was, but now that I see he treated even my most talented cohorts the same, I feel better, and made me understand that what he was doing was pushing us. He pushed ME hard, and was the first person to call out that just “being” wasn’t good enough. I had to try and work toward something.  Back then, I harbored feelings of inadequacy, but now I realize that it was him not accepting a “high school” performance; it was him insisting we be better and go beyond who we were. When I forcibly push myself outside of my comfort zone, I know now, in part it is because of him.

    I have fond memories of the time I spent with the friends I made during those years: the Thespian/Band crew. These are people that, today, I wish I kept in touch with more/more often. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to now that so many have come up to voice their respect for this man.
    It’s a group that was so bright, and full of potential. One that to this day I try to measure up to. It’s funny, yesterday, I could confidently tell you that I am very content with where I am in life, and what I’ve achieved. Don’t get me wrong, I still do, but all of a sudden where I am feels a lot smaller in the sea of everyone’s accomplishments.

    Lastly, I’ve realized that even though I’ve graduated high school and college; even though I’ve been working in the industry for over 10 years, in my mind Mr. Anderson along with the other influential teachers from my past, are still at ECHS. Still in their respective rooms, labs or studios. Still teaching. They’re so immortalized in my mind, that it rattles me to hear they are no longer (corporally) with us. Damn. My bigger than life people are human, and I never took the time to go back and acknowledge their incredible impact on my life.
    I’m going to work to change that this week.

    Rest in peace Mr. Anderson. And thank you! Thank you for who you have helped make me.

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