Dear every teacher I've ever had,
I am sitting here, at my computer, a gainfully employed member of my chosen profession, and it is all thanks to you. Really, each and every one of you were not just helpful or instrumental, but pivotal in all my successes to date. 11 months ago, I had just graduated Ithaca College, and was preparing to head to my first post-graduate job at the Hackmatack Playhouse. That job lasted me a month, and I already had two more jobs lined up afterwards. All I could do was marvel at how well I had been taught and trained by those people who have dedicated themselves towards making the lives of children and young adults better.
From 1992 until 2008 I was wrapped in the protective, nurturing bubble of Waynflete School. There, the entire faculty and staff worked tirelessly with us to instill knowledge, values, morals, and an incredible thirst for learning. They were successful. Thanks to the efforts of the Lower, Middle, and Upper School Teams, all of my Homestation Teachers, and Advisors, I found myself instilled with self-discipline, and pushed to explore a wide variety of interests and subjects, and always given the time to listen to my (still annoying to this day) incessant chatter.
To those of you who scolded me, I learned the important lessons of humility, and embarrassment.
To those of you who praised me, I learned the ever-necessary lessons of self confidence, and celebration of accomplishment.
To those of you who challenged me to think and explore beyond my comfort zones, I learned the invaluable lessons of opening my mind to the world, challenging its mores, and inspiring others to reach together beyond what we ever could believe possible.
Waynflete School Crest
Together. That is the most important word that I take away from my most formative years. In that spirit, I must next thank every Coach, Leader, Advisor, and Counselor who ever took me under their wing and turned me into something greater. From PAYSA, to Little League, to Pine Island Summer Camp, to Waynflete Athletics, I was given the incredible gift of Teamwork. No single lesson has been more important for me in my lifetime than the value of the Community, the Team, the Ensemble. In Athletics I was inspired by every coach to work with others, to avoid flying solo, to work collaboratively in order to better the team as a whole. That notion has become a beacon I hold dear in this world. Nothing is more important than the Ensemble, the Community, and I work every day to create that amongst my castmates and crew, my friends, and those I work with closely. This singular lesson made all my time at Waynflete, PIC, and Ithaca College the incredible years that they were.
To every Director, Mentor and Leader who lead me through artistic endeavors, You are the reason I do what I do today. From every Theatrical endeavor at Waynflete or within the Community of Portland, to Choruses at Waynflete, St. Luke's Cathedral, and State of Maine honors groups, to the A'Cappella Groups who were so majorly a part of my life for four years at Waynflete, thank you. For the mistakes I made, I promise I took each one to heart and learned from them moving forward. For the successes we shared together, they were not mine to celebrate any more than they were yours. Each of you gave me so much guidance and trust that I hope I have done justice to. I would not be an active member of the Entertainment Industry without everything you gave me.
In the Fall of 2008 I began my freshman year at Ithaca College. There are not enough words for me to express my gratitude and love for that institution and the time I spent there. There I was taken from a headstrong, hardworking, impulsive, eager High School Graduate, and sculpted into a Professional Young Man. I was given the gift of the most amazing class of theatre artists anyone could ask for, and the class of 2012 worked alongside each other under the guidance of some of the greatest theatrical minds in the world. Together we experienced joy, heartbreak, success, failure, love, conflict, and peace, and came out the other end ready to tackle the world. I would be nowhere without my degree from Ithaca College. To every teacher there, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. We may not have always seen eye to eye, we may not have interacted very closely, and you may never have known the impact you've had on my life. Trust me, you are appreciated. Even if you never taught me, if we only interacted once, the work you had with my classmates trickled through them to me.
And so I come to the last group of teachers from my time in the Educational system. My peers. To every single peer I have had in life. You all have given me so much love, friendship, guidance, and trust that I can't describe to you what you all mean to me. You are the reason I get up every day, you are the reason I work as hard as I do, and seeing you and hearing your joys and successes makes me happier than you will ever know. Thank you to each and every one of you. Continue being as amazing as you are already, and the world can not stop what we have accomplished, and what we have yet to accomplish together or on our own. I will always be here for you all, just as I know you are always there for me. You all taught me about friendship and love, the most important things anyone can ever know. Without those lessons, the rest are pointless.
I am proud to say that when my 1 year anniversary of graduating from Ithaca College, I will have worked 40 out of 52 weeks in the Theatre Field. I have had the pleasure and honor of working for 6 different theaters, and 2 educational institutions in my first year postgrad. That accomplishment is yours to celebrate as much as it is mine. It never would have come true without the hard work of those that made me who I am today. I hope I can continue to make you all proud, and do justice to the work you've done.
The most important thing I've learned from each and every one of you, my teachers throughout my entire life, is that we are never done learning. In that vein, thank you to everyone who has taught me since I graduated. To every crew member, staff member and cast member of my professional experiences I've had postgrad, thank you for taking me under your wing, for teaching me, for giving me trust, and nurturing my creative spirit.
The world is full of teachers, whether they know it or not. It is our job as humans to live our lives as fully as we can to inspire and teach those around us. I have been blessed with being surrounded by some of the greatest teachers I could ever imagine or hope for, and I look forward to meeting more in the future.
Thank you, each and every one of you. I love you with all my heart and appreciate you more than this letter could ever convey, or you will ever know.
Photo by Danny Bristoll
(fac·to·tum | \ fak-ˈtō-təm) noun - a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities
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