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Prince Rupert teacher recognized as best in B.C.

What it most means to me is that I’ve made an impact — O’Toole
O’Toole’s passion started with when she used to listen to musicals on her parent’s record player at her childhood home. (File photo)

Prince Rupert drama teacher, Alison O’Toole, was named B.C.’s top drama educator, on Oct. 22.

The Charles Hays Secondary School English and drama teacher received the Drama Teacher of the Year Award at the Association of BC Drama Educators conference online, which recognized her work in the fine arts program, particularly musicals, at the high school.

O’Toole has been teaching drama for more than 29 years. The award speaks to her effort in teaching, not just in school hours, but also after school each day, as well as hosting six-hour rehearsals on Sundays.

“What it most means to me is that I’ve made an impact,” O’Toole said. “It lights the fire again.”

Nominated by a former student who is now a teacher, O’Toole said she is honoured and very surprised. The nomination was bolstered with letters of support from former and current students.

The awards speech, made by the president of the association, left O’Toole tearing with emotion in her home. She said the unexpected attention on Facebook and being celebrated, has her a bit overwhelmed.

“I’m not used to that because I’m normally behind the scenes, as the director. It’s my students who are out there in the forefront,” O’Toole said. “I don’t really do well with speeches and all the publicity. I’m quite happy to just let my students be in the limelight.”

She said it’s lovely to be recognized, but the award doesn’t change the job for her.

“It’s almost like having another full-time job. It’s so much work, but I love musicals. I’ve loved musicals since I was a child,” she said. “It’s just always been a passion.”

The award, for her, is self-confirming she chose the right career path, however, she said she couldn’t have done it alone.

“Theatre is not a one-man show. It’s a collaboration. There are just so many wonderful and talented people and support that I’ve had

READ MORE: Heart of Our City: Alison O’Toole, Going off-script

READ MORE: Two decades of high school plays and musicals

 Norman Galimski | Journalist 
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