“One of a Kind” Drama Instructor Bowing out

Erika Riedel and Mia Jay

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Long-time teacher Jamie Donohoe has confirmed that he will be ending his tenure as drama instructor and returning to a full load of English classes next school year.

Donohoe has been teaching English since 1999 and drama since 2011. His interest in performing arts was sparked at UC Santa Barbara and Boston College. “I performed in a play, that kick-started performing arts for me,” he said.

Donohoe currently teaches English 4 and drama, and will continue to do so through the spring semester.  “When our drama teacher left 7 years ago, 2 other English teachers came to me and said I should teach drama. I said, ‘Oh, ok,'” said Donohoe.

While Donohoe has enjoyed contributing to the program, including orchestrating 2 productions each year and cultivating a unique culture to which many students gravitate, he is ready to move on.

“The list of frustrations surrounding the job just got to be a little bit too overwhelming,” said Donohoe.  A particular challenge is that lack of a dedicated space for rehearsal and production.  Drama currently shares the Performing Arts Center with vocal and instrumental music programs, as well as other campus groups.

Donohoe, who has a knack for developing strong relationship with his students, had the difficult task of informing his current drama classes that he would not be returning next year. “When he told us that he was leaving, I got really upset, and everyone in class was crying. It was really intense,” said freshman Emmie Miller.

“I think I ruined some lives,” joked Donohoe.

One of the aspects of the program of which Donohoe is most proud is that it gives a space for “drama nerds” to collaborate, express themselves and develop courage to perform. “[Donohoe is] really relaxed and really good at helping you develop your character and to put meaning behind what you’re doing,” said Miller.

In junior Kellen Kvech’s words, Donohoe is irreplaceable. “I’ve had him for 3 years, and I’m sad that I won’t have him for my senior year. It definitely won’t be the same, because he’s made and created the drama program and molded so many students and changed their lives,” she explained. “I hope there is someone like him out there, but he is definitely one of a kind. There will never be someone that could take his place.”

His successor, Donohoe hopes, will be “somebody who’s going to continue creating a safe place for kids to do what they need to do and is going to be energetic and is going to embrace all the unique personalities we get in drama.”

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