ArtsLink: Alice Rowe is a Legend

By Jason Young on September 09, 2012 from A&E Blog via

Last night (Saturday, September 8, 2012), my friend and colleague, the longtime and still current journalism teacher at Bridgeport High School, was inducted into the Bridgeport High School Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame.
It is about time!
I am in no way an educator. I don’t have any training in pedagogy. I have certainly never spent a day at the head of the class in the public school system. But for my money, any great school has solid performance from three different departments; Academics, Athletics, and the Arts.
Obviously, by this equation, you could label Bridgeport High School as a great school.
Though the numbers are still unofficial, Bridgeport’s WesTest scores were the best in the state last year.
You need only take a walk down the main hallway through the cafeteria to notice that there is no more room above a bursting-at-the-seams trophy case to hang any more state championship photos.
And, I could spend the next 1,000 words bragging on the BHS art, music, and theatre programs, but that is another blog for another day.
However, as I sat among friends, family, and alumni last night to support this current Hall of Fame class, I couldn’t help but notice that my “great school” equation was present on the dais. As you looked at a legendary athletic coach in Wayne Jamison seated at the same table as a 43-year veteran of the classroom in Alice Rowe.
Now, I know that by pointing out those two I am only accounting for excellence in athletics and academics, but the omission of the arts in the previous paragraph is purposeful and brings me to the point that I would like to leave you with.
I want you to read my next series of facts very carefully.
This school year marks the 38th consecutive season of play production at Bridgeport High School. That means before the Senior Play even opens in October, BHS has presented 52 shows in that time span. Alice Rowe has produced every one of them.
Let me say that again, for 38 years and 52 shows, Alice has been at the head of what is now one of the most accomplished theatre programs in our state.
Now, unfortunately, I have no way of measuring this accomplishment, but in a very safe prediction, I think you could survey the entire nation and not find five other public schools that could boast a staff member that has made this kind of a selfless commitment to an extra-curricular arts program.
It is, as a point of fact, a legendary accomplishment, and one that is well deserving of her induction into the school’s Hall of Fame. Even more impressive perhaps, is that as I listened to Alan Dye give her resume as part of Alice’s introduction, he was well onto the second page before he even mentioned her involvement with the theatre program.
Then, as I listened to Alice’s remarks, as she highlighted not her personal accomplishments but rather specifically cited the impact that many of her past journalism students had made on her life, I realized how an individual could work for so long and so hard at one task and still be excited about it every morning. She believes in the transformative power of the arts, whether it be through journalism, photography, multi-media, or live performance, and with each transformation she witnesses, she too is transformed.
If I could close with a confession, there was a small part of me that feared Alice would shock the world and announce her retirement during her speech last night. She assured me just before the event began that she wasn’t going to, and she kept her word.
I do not know when her reign will come to an end, with her passion and ambition and seemingly endless supply of energy, I am not sure it will be that soon, and I hope she is there long after my tenure with the program expires. With 52 shows behind her, I would love to see 48 more ahead, so that she could be sitting out there selling tickets to the 100th BHS production.
Congratulations, Boss!!
Editor's Note: Picture of Alice Rowe by Ben Queen of
Click HERE for the story on Alice Rowe's reaction to her induction and what others had to say.

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