Testimonial #39: David McGinnis, Theatre Professor

I would never have finished high school without it. Period. I have no idea what I would be doing without theatre.”

How has your life been indelibly touched by a teacher who utilized the arts for whatever reason and acknowledge how they were instrumental in breaking the mold to allow you to become who you are today?

To be blunt, I only finished high school because of arts, and I definitely only pursued postsecondary and further education because arts were an option. Focusing on high school, though, I was not what you might call the “well-behaved” student…or even the usually present one. I attended when I felt like it and did what work I felt like until I discovered the interconnectedness of the arts with other disciplines. I then studied physics in high school because I wanted to learn how to build better set pieces and operate/repair lighting equipment. I buckled down and focused on my writing and literary studies because I kept stumbling upon references in the theatre and I wanted to understand them more fully. I worked harder on math because of its usefulness in the shop. I even began to care more about PE because I needed to stay fit in order to keep performing some of the work that the theatre required. I found myself more interested in my economics and civics studies because of the prevalence of such thought in theatrical literature, and beginning my 11th grade year, I even began to opt into courses like psychology for no more reason than the curiosity that I developed because of arts, theatre in particular. I would never have finished high school without it. Period. I have no idea what I would be doing without theatre, but because of what I gained from it, I am now a theatre professor, and I find that what I received is not at all an uncommon gift. Education without arts quite literally is education without passion, and education without passion prepares the learned arm for bondage.

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