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Mrs. Grendahl for Educator of the Year

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I always knew I was interested in performance, but I never really had the guts to get in front of an audience and act in a show. I had two big fears: I would forget my lines and going out and doing a show outside of school. But then, I went to middle school in sixth grade and met Mrs. Grendahl, the director of the spring musical. She encouraged everyone to try out for the show, and I was soon up on stage rehearsing for my first show. I didn’t have any lines, so I didn’t get over my fear of forgetting them, but I was not scared about going out for a school show anymore. The thing I like most about her was her drama techniques. Whoever auditioned got a chance, whether it is a chorus role or a main part. Everyone who went to auditions got something to do. I was happy that I didn’t have any lines in this show, because of my fear, but “Tied to the Tracks” was an awesome experience that jumpstarted my love for theater.

By eighth grade I had done two spring musicals with her. I was comfortable with my stage presence at school, but I didn’t want to go out into the community to try out for a show. It wasn’t long before she caught on to my love for acting and performance, and recommended I go out for auditions for “A Christmas Carol” at one of our local acting groups. I took the flyer, but immediately thought ‘no’ because of my fears. But, she kept encouraging me and telling me about this group. One of the directors of the show was also the choreographer of our school shows. With her encouragement, I ended up auditioning and getting the part of Jacob Marley. This was a great show, but more importantly I started a relationship with another acting group. I wouldn’t have been done without her encouragement.

Later in eighth grade, I received a major role as the Cowardly Lion in “Oz!” I was afraid of memorizing so many lines, but again with her help, I was able to pull it off and realized I can handle any role regardless of the amount of lines.

Besides directing the spring musical, she also taught my eighth grade language, literature, and drama classes. She is a patient person. She realizes all students are just kids. She isn’t aiming for the absolute best productions and work in the world or working the kids to the bone. Instead, she is more focused on keeping theater fun by exposing students to the stage with a quality show and giving everyone a chance to shine in the process.

Over the years, I have kept in contact with her. I’ve gone back to my middle school to help with shows and, in return, she has helped me with costumes and tips for other shows and auditions. I know she really believes in me. In my sophomore year of high school, she even asked me to come back and fill in for a part in the spring musical. I happy took on the job because, like her, I want to be part of exposing new kids to theatre arts. I knew she really believed in me and that I made a real impact if was to ask me to come back. Since middle school, I’ve gotten into several other theater groups and have continued my love for the stage. I plan to go the college to become a middle school or high school drama teacher, partially inspired by her. If it wasn’t for this awesome teacher, I wouldn’t have come this far and found my love for the stage.



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