For the Sake of the Stage

Brian Haywood, Editorial/ Two Cents Editor

While Melissa Freeman is new to the theatre department at Keller High School, she’s no stranger to the performing art itself. For the past ten years preceding her arrival at Keller, Freeman had been not only the resident theatre teacher at Chapel High School in Tyler, Texas, but also the school’s debate coach, UIL coordinator, and auditorium coordinator. It was a lot of responsibility for just one person, but nothing Freeman wasn’t content with.

“I was a one-man show,” she reflected

Ever since high school, Freeman was interested in theatre, but drill team and cheerleading, her other interests, tended to take over most of what she did. Teaching wasn’t even on her radar at this time.

“I originally went to college for Communications”, she explained. “I didn’t direct my own play until 2004.”

The advantages that come with a larger high school and pool of faculty are certainly a helpful addition. “We had our first booster club meeting yesterday, and that was exciting. It was great seeing all those parents come out to support,” said Freeman.

Now, however, Mrs. Freeman is no longer alone, joined by fellow collaborators Clarissa Shirley and Deborah Garoui.

“The thing is, I’ve never had anyone else to work with,” Mrs. Freeman said. “It’s great having two people to bounce ideas off of. Wherever we have strengths or weaknesses, we can fill in the gaps.”

With the departure of longtime Indian theatre director Sara Zinck this past summer, the trio of directors is faced with new horizons and expectations, an opportunity that Freeman is keen to capitalize on.

“Keller won state four or five years ago,” she reminded us, “and I think there’s been a complete turnover in theatre directors since then. So we want to build it back up to where it was when they won state.”

Regardless of how the competitive season turns out, though, it is clear that Freeman is delighted to be a part of this department; teaching is something that she loves doing, and it will always be the driving passion in her life.

“My family always says I’m going to teach until I’m dead.” That, however, is yet to be seen.