Many people assume that Theater is just memorizing piles and piles of the script while trying out costumes. That what I was thinking of when I got into Theater Production in eleventh grade that is mostly for kids that are in plays after school for the sixth period. As I came into the Black Box, which is a room with black paint and looking like a box, I sat into one of the chairs and waited till the tardy bell ringed. As soon as the bell tolled, a short and chunky man came in, and he introduced himself as Mr. Blanchard. I somehow knew him by going to one of his classes the last year when I had to talk to him to see if I am qualified to come into his class. Soon as he introduced himself briefly, he had a game where we tell who were are, our grade, what is our favorite candy and tree. When it was my turn, I said my name, I am a Junior, I had no ideal choice of a tree, and my favorite candy was Twix. I felt a little nervous and shy because there were kids that I knew that been in Theater longer than me and they performed their part much better than me when I was in Theater which was from seventh to eighth grade. What makes it even worse is that the students in that are class are the core members, which are the people that are the student leaders of Theater.
Throughout the one and a half weeks, I grew an instant liking to Mr.Blanchard because he always had a cheeky sense of humor and has great ideas that makes the script that is given realistic and creative. I learned that from the Fall play of “Wotcha! Gotcha!” I got the role of Dr. John Watson (who was the brother of Dr. John Watson and companion of Shamrock Holmes, Irish cousin of Sherlock Holmes) and most of the lines have me talking one scene which was exciting, so I memorized the lines in just a few minutes. There was one day when I was with several people that were in the scene I was, we performed, and after we performed, he told us to “animate” or to be more like the cartoons. When I went to Mr.Blanchard for advice on my character because one the first day of rehearsal, I wasn’t able to go there because of a family issue, he told me that who I was. So, with a discussion of my classmates, we were able to have animation and move around the stage rather than stand and read monotone from the script. Also, we had to move around like robots in Chuck E Cheese. On the second performance, Mr.Blanchard loved the act, and he told me specifically that I had an exciting character yet and the only advice he told me was to be sure that I project my voice so that others can hear me. When I heard that, I felt such pride and I took some time to practice. As several passes, through several tiresome hours of going in and out of the stage and practice with a British accent, the performances came on. At the first show, I was nervous because of the doubts that troubled my mind ever since audition, what if I failed to impress myself and others around me? As the actor go to their stations and the sounds of footsteps come on, it was my time to shine. Through the show, there was a few laughter and it was a tough crowd. The audience enjoyed my humor a bit, but when it came to the little ones that enjoyed me the most. After the first show of performance, there was a show that was for the kindergartens and the pre-kindergarten of the school district that I go to, so it was short and the kids just loved me. They giggled at my silly acts and they joined me whenever I was clapping which made it creepy (because my clap was slow and the kids followed my rhythm) for some of the actors. That play was the one I enjoyed the most because I was able to use to creative juice that was in my mind that makes the play better. All of them is because Mr.Blanchard let us stimulate our creative juices and get great ideas and bits under stress.
After the fall play, I got into the Renaissance Festival. At first, I was wondering if there was going to be auditions, but luckily there is no need to do it unless I wanted to take a bigger part, but I didn’t know the characters were. I got Brighella who is the apprentice of the Baker. Mr.Blanchard was the one to create the script for us and to encourage us to think of ideas independently. He also had the idea that stressful times can sometimes bring some of the best ideas for the show while the actors must work together as a team so that there is relationship building, making the show better, and conjure up even more ideas. When I read the script, I was quite interested on my part, which I thought of making like a friend to the Baker that is tired from all the romance that the Baker goes through and listen to his crying when he was having a break with his lover. Although there was only two or three weeks to rehearse, I worked hard to achieve what I wanted and that is a great show that will won first place of the show. When the day of Texas Renaissance Festival came around, we performed at the Globe Theater. Then I got to experience the food, drinks, games, costumes, and the art that they made. The air felt so exotic and unique that made me feel so alive and happy for a long time.
Mr.Blanchard is one of the best teachers I ever had. He was like a dad/coach to me and I always enjoyed working with the actors around me and with Mr.Blanchard. He is what the heart of Theatre is about, creativity and hard-work. Mr.Blanchard is also the one who takes care of the community pep-rallies of the High School, so without him, where would the celebration of Homecoming and recognition to the sports be taken care of by? He is also cares for not only the High School, he also cared for a Catholic school that his son goes to that he is the director of the Christmas play of the school, even though he isn’t part of that school. When Hurricane Harvey struck, there were many teachers in my school that lost much of their money due to replacing insulation and getting rid of furniture that got wet from hurricane. Mr.Blanchard had a great idea that helped the teachers that lost much of their home, and that was making t-shirts that has the Texas state as a word cloud. It cost 10 dollars and it was purchased by many people that was enough to help the teachers that lost everything. At the end of the Renaissance day, we had to go back to the Globe Theater to find out who won. The sad truth was that we didn’t win anything place, but Mr.Blanchard said that we did our best and we will get better as team in UIL.
I want to be a teacher, and Mr.Blanchard is my role model of becoming one because of the patience that he has for the students, the mind-blowing creativity that he has, and for preparing every student that is in his team of actors to be ready for college and life. So that is why I nominate Mr. Raymond Blanchard for Teacher of the Year because of the dedication he has for the community and his love of teaching and making the students become their best selves.