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Templeton High School welcomes new drama teacher 

Templeton High School welcomes new drama teacher

Stephanie LeClair.

Stephanie LeClair has been an English teacher at the high school since 1995

Templeton High School has a new drama teacher, one who will bring knowledge of the Templeton community and experience from her long-time position teaching English at Templeton High.

Stephanie LeClair says she is excited about taking over the drama program at Templeton High and producing shows in the TPAC. “When I learned Catherine Kingsbury was retiring, I immediately thought about the impact her departure would have,” said LeClair, “She has built an impressive program, and I hoped the district would be able to maintain it.”

LeClair came to Templeton High in 1995 as a full-time English teacher. Since then, she has also taught French, produced the high school yearbook for many years, and served as English department chair. She has taught every grade level of English, from freshman courses to the senior-level Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum and AP Language and Composition. LeClair will continue teaching one section of AP language and composition this year in addition to her drama classes.

When she first heard about the drama position, she didn’t immediately apply. “But when the internal posting came through the district email noting ‘Single-subject English credential preferred,’ I held my breath,” LeClair says. “A lot of aspects about the position appeal to me. I love theatre, and I love working with teenagers. The possibility of working with students every day on projects they are passionate about is quite appealing. Those kids could sign up for any electives, but they chose drama because they’re interested.”

She adds, “I know a lot of students find their place, or feel their value for the first time when they work on a production. A student may realize they are not only welcome, but important and valued when they work on the stage crew. I feel lucky to be part of a program that provides those experiences for our students.”

One change LeClair is making is to the fall play. For her first show in the TPAC, she plans to produce The Outsiders, adapted by Christopher Sergel from the S.E. Hinton novel. The show will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9. She hopes to do Peter and the Starcatcher at a later date.

But the spring musical will remain the same. LeClair explains, “Before school ended, some drama students popped in to say hello and introduce themselves to me. They were friendly and welcoming, and many of them had the same question: ‘Will you be changing the musical?’ They were already excited about the choice, and I am happy to be sticking with Mamma Mia! for our spring musical, which will run April 18 – 27.”

In addition to these shows, LeClair expects to host an advanced drama showcase and a beginning drama class one-act play in the spring. The film festival and other drama-related activities are in consideration. Audiences can look forward to lots of activity in the TPAC this year.

Asked about her goals for THS drama, LeClair says, “One goal is to maintain the standards our community has come to expect from THS productions. Catherine Kingsbury is an expert, and I’ll look to the creative support teams to collaborate with the students and me.” Another goal is to expand the program: “I would like to see increased enrollment in all the drama department classes. I hope our community will continue to support the THS students in their work.”

LeClair emphasized the value of creating art even if it’s not shared publicly. To her, the act of creating is paramount; she says she wants to “help students see the value of creating all the time—choreographing a dance just for themselves, writing a monologue they won’t use for an audition or showcase, or imagining an alternative interpretation of a well-known song. I believe students will trust themselves artistically, academically, and professionally (even if they don’t work in the industry) if they see themselves as creative and they understand they can take chances. I hope to emphasize the value of making art even when no one will see it, and making art even when the product is not beautiful. I want them to see the worth of the act itself—creating.

“I’m excited about working with our students to create art, and I’m appreciative of the adults, including the THS Drama Boosters, who have dedicated themselves to this program over the years. Their work and commitment are impressive, and I’m already grateful for the work they do.”

 

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.