Behind the curtain: Theater teacher awarded for family-like atmosphere

Behind the curtain: Theater teacher awarded for family-like atmosphere

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - A Hanover County teacher has dedicated almost three decades to enriching the lives of countless students and is the most recent recipient of NBC12′s Excellence in Education Award.

Meg Switzer, a theater teacher at Lee Davis High School, took over the program three years ago with more and more students joining the program.

It’s not a Broadway stage, but the students certainly give a Broadway-like performance.

“We’ve had a lot of growth with the program,” said Principal Charles Stevens.

This past fall, for the first time, students at Lee Davis high school shared the stage with kids from the elementary school, and together they brought the musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” to life.

“It’s just been a joy to be able to shape them into artists, because they’ve got all the raw materials and I feel like i’m just fine tuning what’s already there,” said Switzer.

She says theater is the ultimate collaborative art, and “there is no small parts, just small actors.”

Switzer says she tries to create a family-like atmosphere where everyone is valued.

This type of philosophy is why one of her former students wrote in NBC12 to nominate her for our Excellence in Educations award. Part of that letter says, “She listens to us and gives us advice when we ask for it. She creates a safe space in her classroom where we all feel so close to her and each other, we support each other and never tear each other down.”

“You hope that every day when you come to work that you just see the students for who they are and you try to embrace them and teach them something each day,” said Switzer. “... I’m just humbled, truly humbled.”

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